Camellia: A native Asian shrub or tree of the genus Camellia, especially Camellia japonica, with shiny evergreen leaves and variously colored flowers.
Builder: Racine Boat Manufacturing Company, Muskegon, Michigan
Length: 116' 7"
Displacement: 377 tons
Commissioned: 13 July 1911
Decommissioned: 18 August 1947
Machinery: 2 triple-expansion inverted direct-acting steam engines; 440 SHP; 2 water tube Almy-type boilers; twin cast iron propellers; engines replaced with 2 Atlas Imperial diesels in 1933.
Performance & Endurance:
Max: 9.0 knots (1911); 8.0 knots (1945)
Cruising: 7.0 knots; 2,100 mile range (1945)
Deck Gear: 5-ton capacity wood boom w/ steam-powered winch
Complement: 16 (1915)
The United States Tender Camellia entered service in 1911 as a bay tender for the Lighthouse Service. She was built for the shoal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and had a steel hull with a wooden superstructure. She was assigned to the 8th Lighthouse District and was based out of New Orleans, Louisiana, where she serviced aids to navigation.
She grounded on the Mississippi River Delta on 4 September 1915 but was refloated after suffering only minor damage. During World War I Camellia was mobilized for war service by executive order and transferred first to the War Department, and on 1 July 1917 to the Navy Department. She was thereafter attached to the 8th Naval District until 1 July 1919 when she was returned to duty with the Lighthouse Service.
In 1933 her steam engines were replaced with diesels. She continued operating out of New Orleans through World War II, receiving the designation WAGL-206 in 1942, and was decommissioned on 18 August 1947. She was sold on 29 December 1947.
She was transferred to the Dominican Republic and was renamed the Capotillo (FB-101). There she was designated as Survey Craft #1 and was still in service in the 1980s.
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Vessels. Washington, DC: USGPO.
Douglas Peterson. United States Lighthouse Service Tenders, 1840-1939. Annapolis: Eastwind Publishing, 2000.