March 18, 2015 —
Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger, Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard as well as members of the Coast Guard’s acquisition program, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg and maritime industry personnel attended the ceremony to recognize the final delivery milestone.
The U.S. Coast Guard marked the delivery of the 174th response boat-medium – the final RB-M produced – in a ceremony at Station St. Petersburg, Florida, March 17, 2015. With the final RB-M delivery completed, the Coast Guard’s RB-M program has achieved full operational capability, a significant milestone in the service’s efforts to recapitalize its surface fleet of cutters and boats. Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger, Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard as well as members of the Coast Guard’s acquisition program, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg and maritime industry personnel attended the ceremony to recognize the final delivery milestone.
"Our mission has changed a lot over the years,” said Neffenger. “As the mission has grown, we outgrew the 41-foot Utility Boat, and we needed something that was capable of doing a lot more than just search and rescue."
The 45-foot RB-M first entered service in 2008 and is the centerpiece of the Coast Guard’s efforts to upgrade and standardize its shore-based boat fleet. It replaces the 41-foot Utility Boat, which entered service 1973 and was retired in 2014. The RB-M is primarily used for search and rescue; law enforcement; and ports, waterways and coastal security missions close to shore. It can travel at speeds in excess of 40 knots, significantly improving response time, and has a range of 250 nautical miles. The RB-M is also capable of quickly self-righting in the event of a roll-over, and its twin-jet propulsion engines provide better maneuverability and performance than the UTB’s twin-propeller propulsion arrangement.
Since the Coast Guard received its first RB-M in 2008, the boats have been delivered to over 110 units across 30 states and territories. In fiscal year 2014, RB-Ms conducted 27,048 missions throughout the Coast Guard’s area of responsibility.
The Coast Guard is now in the process of transitioning the program to sustainment, including preparing product lines to support the RB-Ms for the rest of their service lives.
For more information: Response Boat-Medium Program page