USCGC Lilac

Built by Pusey & Jones, Wilmington DE
Launched: 5/26/33
Commissioned: 1933
Decommissioned: 2/3/72
Displacement: 1012 tons
Length: 173' 4", Beam: 32', Draft: 13'
Propulsion: two triple expansion vertical inverted steam; two Babcock & Wilcox oil fired boilers. Twin screw, 800 SHP
Speed: 11.5 knots
Complement: 1 officer, 3 warrants, 37 enlisted
History: The Lighthouse Service originally contracted the Lilac on 13 April 1931 to Hampton Roads Shipbuilding of Portsmouth, Virginia.  She was designed as a coastwise tender and was to be named the Azalea.  Pusey & Jones Company underbid Hampton Roads Shipbuilding, however, and the former was awarded the contract and the tender's name was changed to Lilac.

She entered service in 1933 and was stationed in the Fourth Lighthouse District and was based out of Edgemoor, Delaware, where she conducted general aids to navigation work in the Delaware River area.  When the Lighthouse Service merged with the Coast Guard in 1939, she then became a Coast Guard cutter but her homeport remained Edgemoor, although that harbor fell under the jurisdiction of the Fifth District. Designated WAGL-227 in 1942. She was armed during the war but saw no action.  Her armament was removed at the end of hostilities.

She remained at Edgemoor until 1948 when she was transferred to Gloucester City, New Jersey.  Continuing with her general aids to navigation work, she was nevertheless frequently called upon to assist during search and rescue cases.  On 15 to 17 May 1952 she assisted following the collision between the motor vessels Barbara Lykes and F. L. Hayes in the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.  On 22 May 1952 she assisted the tug Pateo and the Atlantic Dealer in the Delaware River.  On 26 May 1952 she assisted following the collision between the tanker Michael and the motor barge A. C. Dodge near Ready Island.  On 30 January 1953 she assisted the fishing vessel Benjamin Brothers in the Delaware River.  From 6 to 12 June 1953 she assisted following the collision between the tankers Pan Massachusetts and the Phoenix in the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.  On 24 and 25 June 1953 she fought the fire on board the tanker Pan Georgia and searched for survivors in the Christina River.  On 30 December 1953 she assisted the motor vessels Atlantic Dealer and Atlantic Engineer in the Delaware River.  On 13 July 1955 she assisted the yacht Nipautuck II in the Delaware River. 

She was the last steam-powered vessel in the Coast Guard's inventory when she was decommissioned on 3 February 1972.  She was donated to the Harry Lundeberg Seafarers International Union seamanship school in Maryland.

 US Coast Guard http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-cp/history/WEBCUTTERS/Lilac_1933.html

Click on picture to view larger image

 Brandywine Shoal Lighthouse, Delaware Bay

Memorial Day Celebration, Philadelphia Navy Yard, mid 1950's

Working buoys on the Delaware

The Lilac placing buoys to mark a wreck in New York Harbor

Ray Midgett