Don’t let the photo fool you. You are looking at a very unique piece of World War II history that is being restored right here on South Lake Union by two very determined, self-labeled military history buffs. Our 3rd Friday speakers, Matt Levy and Kelly Thynes, have formed U.S. Coast Guard-11/Tiburon/U.S. Coast Guard-83366 Foundation as they undertake the restoration of an 83’ cutter that served as a rescue boat during the D-Day invasion until the end of hostilities in Europe.
That’s a whole lot of vessel name so we are just going to call it USCG-11/Tiburon. The vessel has a storied history. Built originally as one of 230 anti-submarine patrol boats for the U.S. coast, the vessel was one of a group of 60 that were deck-shipped to England and refitted to be used as rescue boats for the largest seaborne invasion in history: D-Day on the beaches of Normandy, France. U.S. Coast Guard history records that USCG-11 and its crew, part of Rescue Flotilla One, saved more than 400 people that day.
After the war, the wooden-hulled cutters were surpassed by larger non-wood vessels. In 1963 the cutter was declared surplus and sold at auction to a private owner who rechristened the vessel Tiburon. Today, USCG-11/Tiburon is the only remaining boat from Rescue Flotilla One still existing.
Matt and Kelly will recount the unique way they came to own the badly-aged vessel. Now, aided by friends and other military history fans, they are restoring USCG-11/Tiburon to its D-Day configuration, searching across the country for time-authentic bits and pieces and building a history file, with the aim of turning the vessel into a floating museum of World War II history.
About the 3rd Friday Speaker Series
The Center for Wooden Boats 3rd Friday Speaker Series is a monthly event where a speaker of wit and experience joins CWB to share their special knowledge. It is also an opportunity for CWB members to mingle with other attendees and the staff. The talks take place in the new Wagner Education Center, and just like museum admission, the program is always free.
Snacks and beverages will be available. Donations to help cover costs will be cheerfully and gratefully accepted.