White Lupine, 1947

July 30, 2020

White Lupine, 1947

WAGL / WLM 546; YF-446

Any of numerous plants of the genus Lupinus in the pea family, having palmately compound leaves and variously colored flowers grouped in spikes or racemes.

Builder:  Erie Concrete & Steel Supply Company, Erie, Pennsylvania

Commissioned: 1944 (USN); 5 September 1947 (USCG)

Decommissioned: 27 February 1998

Disposition: Transferred to Tunisia

Length:  132' 10"

Beam:  30'

Draft:  8' 9" max

Propulsion:  Diesel electric; 2 x 600 bhp Union diesels with twin screws

Complement:  1 warrant, 20 crewmen (1948)

Armament:  None


White Lupine was the former Navy lighter, YF-446.  The Coast Guard acquired a total of eight of these former Navy YF-257-class lighters between 1947-1948 for conversion to coastal buoy tenders.  They were needed to supplement the larger seagoing buoy tenders which were unable to service short-range-aids-to-navigation placed in coastal waters and harbors.  

They were built entirely of steel and were originally designed to carry ammunition and cargo from shore to deep-draft vessels anchored off-shore.  These lighters were well suited for a variety of coastal tasks because their hull design incorporated a shallow draft with a solid engineering plant.  All of these 133-foot lighters had sufficient cargo space for storing equipment and an open deck and boom for handling large objects.  They proved to be capable and useful buoy tenders.  Each was named for a plant, shrub or tree, prefixed by "White."


The Maximum War Effort Program report #22 of 3 March 1942 authorized the construction of the ship that would one day become the CGC White Lupine.  Built for the U.S. Navy in 1943 by the Erie Concrete & Steel Supply Company, in Erie, Pennsylvania, she was commissioned as YF-446 on 31 May 1944.  She was used by the Navy during the war as a YF, a "covered lighter, self propelled," to carry ammunition and cargo from the shore to larger naval vessels at anchor.  Her wartime assignment was at Naval Station New Orleans.  At the cessation of hostilities YF-446 was assigned to the 16th Fleet in Texas for decommissioning and storage.  On 17 July 1947 YF-446 was stricken from the Naval Register and transferred to the Coast Guard.  She was then converted for use as a buoy tender and entered commissioned service on 5 September 1947.  She was assigned to the 9th Coast Guard District and was based out of Detroit, Michigan.  She was assigned to tend aids to navigation and conduct search and rescue, limited ice-breaking, and law enforcement duties when needed.

On 18 October 1951 she assisted following a collision between the M/Vs George F. Rand and Harvey H. Brown off Port Huron, Michigan.  On 24 May 1952 she assisted the yacht Judy Lane and on 20 April 1956 she assisted following a collision between the M/Vs A. M. Byers and E. M. Ford off Sans Souci, Michigan.  

She transferred to Ogdensburg, New York and carried out her duties on Lake Ontario.  On 28 September 1962 she assisted the tug Russel towing a barge 10 miles northeast of Rochester, New York.  She transferred in November of 1967 to the First Coast Guard District and was based out of Rockland, Maine, arriving there on 17 November 1967.  Here she was responsible for maintaining 417 buoys along the coast of Maine from Portland to Calais at the Canadian border.  She also serviced buoys on several of the major rivers in Maine including the Penobscot, Kennebec, Damariscott, New Meadows, Sheepscot, and Saint Croix.  She also delivered supplies, fuel and water to families living at various lighthouses.  Her last delivery to such a location was when she delivered supplies to the crew at Fog Station Manana Island in 1996 while they were solarizing the fog signal.  She sustained minor damage on 16 January 1970 when she touched bottom near Whaleback Ledge, Maine.  She assisted in fighting a fire aboard the F/V Rumble Fish on 5 October 1987 and then towed the F/V to safety.

She was decommissioned on 27 February 1998 and was transferred to the government of Tunisia who commissioned her Tabarka on 10 June 1998.

Her awards included the Coast Guard Unit Commendation Medal with the "O" device, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, and the Humanitarian Service Medal.


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

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

U. S. Department of the Interior.  National Park Service. U.S. Coast Guard 133-Foot Buoy Tenders.  HAER booklet.  Washington, DC: National Park Service, February, 2004.  [HAER no. DC-57; Todd Croteau, HAER Industrial Archeologist (project leader); Jet Low, HAER Photographer; Mark Porter, NCSHPO Consultant (historian), and Candace Clifford, booklet design.]