The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for May 5th, 2013

additional circumstance

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, one found himself onboard the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance’s floating harbor conference, and the USCG 109 Sturgeon Bay was spotted on duty in NY Harbor.

Maritime Sunday is a harsh task master, and such fortuitous occurrence of vessel and location offers naught but serendipitous opportunity for accomplishing the job.


The 140-foot Bay-class Cutters are state of the art icebreakers used primarily for domestic ice breaking duties. They are named after American Bays and are stationed mainly in Northeast U.S. and Great Lakes. WTGBs use a low-pressure-air hull lubrication or bubbler system that forces air and water between the hull and ice. This system improves icebreaking capabilities by reducing resistance against the hull, reducing horsepower requirements

  • Length: 140 feet
  • Beam: 37.5 feet
  • Displacement: 662 tons
  • Power plant: Two diesel engines
  • Builder: Bay City Marine, Inc.
  • Launched: 1987
  • Commissioned: 1988

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Quoting from a posting on one of Sturgeon Bay’s sister ships, the Morro Bay (featured in the posting chill currents), you can determine the mission of USCG ships just by looking at them.

“the hull colors of Coast Guard vessels indicate their missions. Black hull- aids to navigation, White hull- maritime law enforcement and other safety-at-sea missions, Red hull- icebreaking”

from wikipedia

The USCG Bay-class icebreaking tug is a class of 140-foot (43 m) icebreaking tugs of the United States Coast Guard, with hull numbers WTGB 101 through to WTGB 109.

They can proceed through fresh water ice up to 20 inches (51 cm) thick, and break ice up to 3 feet (0.91 m) thick, through ramming. These vessels are equipped with a system to lubricate their progress through the ice, by bubbling air through the hull.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Coast Guard is one of those somewhat invisible arms of the Homeland Security team which never gets enough credit for their role in protecting New York. It’s a pleasure to highlight them whenever they appear, in yet another Maritime Sunday post at this, your Newtown Pentacle.

from wikipedia

USCGC Sturgeon Bay (WTGB-109) is an active Icebreaking Tug under the direction of the United States Coast Guard.[1] Her homeport is located in Bayonne, New Jersey. She is the last vessel in her class, being built in 1987. The ship is known for having a major caretaking role in the New York Harbor. The vessel is meant for use in domestic ice breaking as well as homeland security. The Sturgeon Bay is also very active with the Coast Guard’s Partner Ship in Education, hosting various groups aboard the cutter and has received the Partner-Ship with Education award, for outstanding work with school and maritime kid’s groups. The Sturgeon Bay is currently under the command of LCDR Daniel J. Everette.

Also: Upcoming Tours!

Parks and Petroleum- Sunday, May 12, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

The Insalubrious Valley Saturday, May 25, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Hidden Harbor: Newtown Creek tour with Mitch Waxman – Sunday, May 26,2013
Boat tour presented by the Working Harbor Committee,
Limited seating available, order advance tickets now. Group rates available.

The Poison Cauldron- Saturday, June 15, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

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