Zinnia, 1939

WAGL 255

May 1, 2020

Zinnia, 1939


A plant of the genus Zinnia, native to tropical America, especially Z. elegans, cultivated for its showy, colorful flowers.

Builder:  John H. Mathis, Company, Camden, New Jersey

Length: 122' 2"

Beam: 27'

Draft: 7' 6"

Displacement: 355 tons

Cost: $220,023

Commissioned: 1939

Decommissioned: 14 January 1972

Disposition: Transferred to USAF on 1 March 1972

Machinery:  2 Superior diesel engines; 430 BHP; twin propellers

Performance & Endurance:

        Max: 9.0 knots
        Cruising: 6.0 knots; 3,500 mile range

Deck Gear: 10-ton boom capacity, electric hoist

Complement: 43 (1945)

Armament: None

Electronics: None

Tender History:

The United States Tender Zinnia was one of two 122-foot bay and sound tenders built just prior to the transfer of the Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard, the other being Narcissus.  They were the first tenders to be constructed primarily by welding.

Zinnia was assigned to the 4th District and was based at Edgemoor, Delaware.  During World War II she serviced anti-submarine nets.  In 1942 she was given the designation and hull number WAGL 255.  She returned to her traditional duty of servicing aids to navigation after the war.

On 1 May 1947 she was transferred to Gloucester City, New Jersey.  In addition to servicing aids to navigation, she assisted numerous mariners in distress.  On 21 February 1951 she assisted CG-64304 which was icebound in the Delaware River.  On 22 May 1952 she assisted the tug Patco and Atlantic Dealer in the Delaware River.  From 26 to 27 May 1952 she assisted after the collision between the tanker Michael and the motor barge A. C. Dodge near Reedy Island.  From 6 to 10 June 1953 she assisted following the collision between the tankers Phoenix and Pan Massachusetts at the entrance to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.  On 18 December 1954 she assisted following the collision between the tanker Atlantic Capetown and the M/V Maya in the Delaware River.

From 7 to 8 March 1957 she assisted following the collision between the Liberian M/V Elna Second and the USNS Mission of San Francisco near Pea Patch Island.  Sometime in that period she took aboard 26 survivors from the tug Kraft Houler.  On 19 March 1959 she assisted in the recovery of debris following a mid-air collision off Dover, Delaware.  On 21 December 1961 she assisted following the collision between the tanker Olympic Rock and the tug Princess in the Delaware River.

She transferred to New York, New York on 2 February 1967 where she remained based until April of 1969.  She was then transferred to New Orleans, Louisiana where she remained until decommissioned on 14 January 1972. 

Zinnia was then transferred to the U.S. Air Force on 1 March 1972.


Cutter History File.  USCG Historian's Office, USCG HQ, Washington, D.C.

Douglas Peterson.  United States Lighthouse Service Tenders, 1840-1939. Annapolis: Eastwind Publishing, 2000.

Robert Scheina.  U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft of World War II.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1982.

Robert Scheina. U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft, 1946 - 1990. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990.