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The crewmembers of Coast Guard Cutter Lawrence Lawson man the rail aboard the new cutter during its commissioning ceremony in Cape May, New Jersey, March 18, 2017. The cutter is the second fast response cutter stationed in the Coast Guard's 5th District, which includes coastal and inland waters from North Carolina's southern border to parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Krystyn Pecora.

Acquisition Update: Coast Guard Commissions 20th Fast Response Cutter

March 20, 2017

The Coast Guard commissioned its 20th fast response cutter (FRC), Coast Guard Cutter Lawrence Lawson, at the vessel’s Cape May, New Jersey, homeport March 18.

The cutter is the second FRC based in the Coast Guard 5th District; the first, Coast Guard Cutter Rollin Fritch, was commissioned in November 2016.

The FRC’s namesake, Lawrence Lawson, served as keeper of the Evanston, Illinois, lifeboat station and led the rescue of 18 crewmembers from the foundering steam vessel Calumet on Nov. 28, 1889. After unsuccessfully attempting to fire a rescue line in icy conditions, Lawson launched a surfboat and led his crew on three trips through the breakers to fully evacuate the ship. For his leadership, Lawson received the Gold Lifesaving Medal on Oct. 17, 1890.

The Sentinel-class FRC is designed for multiple missions, including ports, waterways and coastal security; drug and migrant interdiction; fishery patrols; search and rescue; and national defense. The 154-foot cutter features improved seakeeping and habitability; the ability to launch and recover standardized cutter boats from astern or via side davits; and advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment. The FRCs, which are replacing the 1980s-era 110-foot Island-class patrol boats, also feature an endurance of five days and can reach a maximum speed of over 28 knots.

The Coast Guard has ordered 38 out of 58 planned FRCs. Twenty are in service: two in Cape May; six in Miami; six in Key West, Florida; and six in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The FRC is part of a fleet plan that also includes the open-ocean patrol capabilities of the national security cutter and the extended range and endurance of the offshore patrol cutter.

For more information: Fast Response Cutter program page