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Coast Guard accepts 53rd fast response cutter


The 53rd fast response cutter, John Patterson, was delivered to the Coast Guard May 11, 2023, in Key West, Florida. It will be homeported in Boston. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Coast Guard accepted delivery of the 53rd fast response cutter (FRC), John Patterson, May 11 in Key West, Florida. John Patterson will be the fourth FRC to be homeported in Boston.

The cutter’s namesake was born in New Jersey in 1834. In 1870, after serving in the U.S. Civil War, Patterson signed on as a surfman with the U.S. Life-Saving Service station in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. He transferred to Life-Saving Station Shark River, New Jersey, in 1883. In July 1885, the yacht Foam was anchored off the coast near Station Shark River, attempting to ride out severe weather, when it began taking on water. Receiving word of the situation, Patterson quickly assembled a surfboat crew and launched into the treacherous waters. After several attempts fighting the heavy winds and waves, the surfboat crew reached the stricken yacht, brought its crew safely aboard and successfully returned to shore. Thousands of spectators are reported to have gathered on the beach to watch the rescue unfold, and some of the witnesses petitioned the government to award the surfboat crew medals for bravery. Patterson and the surfboat crew were subsequently awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for their actions during the rescue. Patterson retired from the service in 1886 and passed away in 1918.

The Coast Guard has ordered 65 FRCs to date. Fifty-one are in service: 13 in Florida; seven in Puerto Rico; six in Bahrain; four in California; three each in Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, Texas and New Jersey; and two each in Mississippi, North Carolina and Massachusetts. Future FRC homeports include Astoria, Oregon, and Kodiak and Seward, Alaska.

For more information: Fast Response Cutter Program page