Manzanita, 1908 (WAGL-233)

Feb. 14, 2021

Manzanita, 1908


An evergreen shrub of the genus Arctostaphylos of the North American Pacific coast.

Builder:  New York Shipbuilding Company, Camden, New Jersey

Commissioned: 7 June 1908

Decommissioned:  29 November 1946; sold

Length:  190'

Beam:  30'

Draft:  13' 3"

Propulsion:  2 triple expansion inverted direct acting steam engines fired by 2 Scotch-type boilers producing 1,100 SHP.

Speed:  12.0 knots maximum (1908)
               13.5 knots maximum (1945)

Complement:  5 officers, 23 crewmen (1909)  

Armament:  2 x 20mm/80 (1945)

Manzanita was one of eight "Manzanita" class tenders (originally known as the "8" class for the eight tenders built) constructed for the Lighthouse Service.  They were designed by the Navy Department and incorporated numerous innovations as compared with previous designs.  "They were constructed of steel and completed as coal burners and were the first of their kind ever constructed.  They were built with vertical sides, which provided a flat surface on which buoy pads could be attached.  Also, the vertical flat sides reduced the tendency of a buoy to slide beneath the hull when the tender was maneuvering alongside.  The deck edge on the forecastle was rounded in order to prevent the buoy cage or lantern from catching.  Steel replaced wood for the booms, and wire rope replaced manila.  The boom was somewhat longer than what might be expected to permit a special rigging for the transfer of supplies to lighthouses on inaccessible rocks and cliffs.  Water capacity was significantly increased, with separate tanks for lighthouse replenishment.  These ships had fine lines as opposed to their predecessors, making them faster and more maneuverable.  They heeled sharply, however, when lifting buoys."  [Scheina, p. 140.]  

In the late-1920's and early 1930's, all tenders in this class had their coal-fired steam plant replaced with an oil-fired plant and new water tube boilers were added as well.


After commissioning, the Manzanita and two other tenders, along with three new lightships, sailed around Cape Horn for duty along the Pacific coast.  Manzanita was transferred to the Navy with the entire Lighthouse Service by Executive order 11 April 1917. She was returned to the custody of the Department of Commerce 1 July 1919.  During World War II, she served out of Astoria, Oregon.  In October, 1943, she laid antisubmarine cables off Prince Rupert, BC, Canada and Dutch Harbor, Alaska.


From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol. IV, p. 227.

Douglas Peterson, U.S. Lighthouse Service Tenders, 1840-1939 (Annapolis: Eastwind Publishing, 2000), pp. 85-86.

Robert Scheina, U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft of World War II (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1981), pp. 140-141.