The U.S. Coast Guard plans to relocate a larger marine patrol cutter to Station Wrightsville Beach, bringing in a commissioned ship nearly twice the size of any the station currently operates.
The Coast Guard is seeking public input on its plans to relocate the ship to a permanent mooring in Wrightsville Beach. In a report put together by AECOM Technical Services, Inc. for the Coast Guard, the plan wouldn’t require dredging or in-water dock construction, and said that the boat wouldn’t create an environmental impact or a visual eyesore.
The relocation of the 87-foot coastal patrol boat would be the largest cutter stationed in Wrightsville Beach, though the station was the homeport of an 82-foot boat from 1987 through 2000. The station currently hosts two 45-foot and two 29-foot small response boats.
The Coast Guard said the relocation would help fill help improve Coast Guard readiness in the region. The relocation would move an existing 87-foot WPB from the Cape May, N.J. station, with one online source identifying the ship currently stationed there as the “Mako.”
“The 87-foot WPB is the dividing line between the USCG’s small response boats and large cutters and they are vital to offshore missions. Currently, there is not an 87-foot WPB homeported in Sector North Carolina. Offshore patrols and missions are being conducted either by 110-foot WPBs from SFO Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach, NC or by 87-foot WPBs from Sector Hampton Roads in Virginia on a rotating schedule. Under current operations, vessels and manpower are being diverted from other missions, which reduces operational readiness and mission effectiveness,” the report said.
The report said that the 87-foot cutter would be able to perform a variety of missions and provide flexibility for local rescues and maritime law enforcement.
It is a fast, sturdy, highly maneuverable boat capable of operating in rough seas with wave height up to 8 feet,” the report said. “It includes an innovative stern launch-and-recovery system using a rigid hull inflatable boat.”
The Coast Guard is inviting public comment on the proposed relocation through July 29. Information about the relocation is available at townofwrighsvillebeach.com, the USCG website http://www.uscg.mil/d5/PublicNotices.asp, and the Northeast Regional branch of the New Hanover County Library.