Thistle, 1943

Sept. 8, 2020

Thistle, 1946

BSP-1049; WAGL-409

A photo of the Thistle

Any of numerous weedy plants, chiefly of the genera Cirsium, Carduus, or Onopordum of the composite family, having prickly leaves and variously colored flower heads surrounded by prickly bracts.

Builder: Martinolinch Shipbuilding Corporation, San Francisco, California 

Length: 106' 3"

Beam: 30' 9"

Draft: 8'

Displacement: 450 tons fl


Commissioned: 1 September 1943 (US Army); 1946 (USCG) 

Decommissioned: 1 August 1957

Disposition: Sold

Machinery: 2 x Caterpillar diesels, 270 hp, twin screws

Performance & Endurance:

        Max: 7.5 knots, 2,915 mile range (1956)

Deck Gear: 1 ton boom capacity

Complement: 10 men

Armament: None

Electronics: Bendix Marine detection radar


The United States Coast Guard Cutter Thistle (WAGL-409), along with her sister ship Aster (WAGL-408), were former-U.S. Army barges.  They were constructed of wood and both were built by the Martinolinch Shipbuilding Corporation of San Francisco.  The Thistle was based at Ketchikan, Alaska, during her Coast Guard career, which spanned the years 1946 to 1957. 

She carried out aids to navigation duties and logistics functions for light stations and light ships in her area.  On 25 May 1955 she engaged in the recovery of a crashed helicopter in Bradfield Canal.

She was decommissioned on 1 August 1957 and was sold on 25 March 1958.


"DECK OF BSP-1049 BEFORE RACKS WERE BUILT."; no date; Official U.S. Coast Guard Photo No. 1211, Ketchikan, Alaska; photographer unknown.


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

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.