WAGL / WLI-261
A woody vine of the genus Gelsemium, especially G. sempervirens of the southeastern United States, with fragrant yellow flowers.
Builder: Dravo Constructing Company, Neville Island, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Length: 91' 4"
Draft: 5' 3"
Displacement: 184 tons
Commissioned: May 1935
Decommissioned: 18 January 1965
Machinery: 2 Cooper-Bessemer 6 cylinder, 4-cycle diesel engines; 440 BHP; twin propellers; re-engined with GM-671 diesels in 1956.
Performance & Endurance:
Max: 10.0 knots
Cruising: 8.0 knots; 570 mile range
Deck Gear: Steel boom w/ electric winch; 2 1/2 ton maximum capacity; boom was later extended 37 feet by adding a 10 foot section; also fitted with a pile driver.
Armament: None (small arms only)
Electronics: CR-103 radar (as of 1958)
Radio Call Sign: NRXH
The Jasmine was one of two Jasmine-class bay and sound tenders built for the Lighthouse Service in the 1930s, the other being the Bluebonnet. These tenders had steel hulls and their superstructures were a combination of wood and steel. Each was fitted with a pile driver. The Jasmine's keel was laid on 26 December 1934. She entered commissioned service in May of 1935. She was assigned to the 8th Lighthouse District and was stationed out of New Orleans, where she spent her entire government career. An article in the Marine Engineering and Shipping Review (Index to Volume 40, January to December, 1935) noted:
This fully equipped, new, twin screw Diesel drive, steel hull lighthouse tender, built for the lighthouse service [sic] of the department of commerce [sic], is now in service at New Orleans. She is being used for light buoy and supply work in the comparatively smooth waters of the harbors, rivers, and inland passages of the Gulf coast in the vicinity of New Orleans. The Diesel propelling engines represent in design and construction the latest modern developments of the builder. Special high grade steel through bolts extend from the trusses beneath each main bearing to the top of cylinder heads. An improved design has been used for the cylinder heads and liners.
As the article noted, she was assigned to tend aids to navigation and supply lighthouse stations in the Gulf region but was available for search and rescue if needed. In 1939 she became an active Coast Guard cutter and after the Coast Guard was transferred to the Navy in November, 1941, she was given the designation and hull number WAGL-261. During the war, unlike many of her sister tenders, she was not armed and continued to service aids to navigation. She continued this duty through the rest of her career but as a Coast Guard cutter she was also tasked with law enforcement and search and rescue duties as needed.
On 11 January 1954 she attempted to recover bodies from a crashed private aircraft in Lake Pontchartrain. The following month, on 16 February 1954, she was involved in a collision at the Industrial Canal Locks with barge ICW-153 that was pushed by the tug Orleans. There was no information regarding damage or injuries in her historical file. In 1956 her engines were replaced with GM-671 diesels. From 30 June to 1 July 1957 she assisted in relief efforts in the Pecan Island area after Hurricane Audrey came ashore.
The Jasmine was decommissioned on 18 January 1965 and was placed in storage at the Atlantic Reserve Fleet facility at Orange, Texas. She was replaced in service by the CGC Wedge (WLIC-75307). She was sold on 19 May 1966 to Roy Furfiord of Seattle, Washington for $40,112.00 and became the private vessel P. E. Romanzoff. In 1973 she was renamed the Cape Romanzoff and continued in operation well into the 1980s. Her ultimate fate is unknown.
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.