Name: U.S.C.G.C. SPAR (WLB-403) Type: ocean going buoy tender
Date Sunk: June, 2004 Cause: Artificial reef program
Size (ft.): 180 x 37 x 14 Tonnage: 1025 gross
Propulsion: 2 EMD 8-cylinder 645-E6 diesel
engines which powered the 1200-HP motor

U.S.C.G.C. Spar — circa 1944 (16)


CGC SPAR was named after the original Coast Guard Women’s Reserve and is an acronym for the Coast Guard motto "Semper Paratus, Always Ready." Built at the Marine Iron and Shipbuilding Company in Duluth, MN, SPAR was launched November 2, 1943. After being commissioned on June 12, 1944, SPAR was subsequently stationed in Boston, MA in August 1944. Upon commissioning, SPAR was quickly directed to assist in the war effort by supporting anti-submarine warfare during convoy duty off the coast of Brazil.

On December l, 1946 SPAR’s homeport changed to Wood’s Hole, MA. SPAR was moved again on June l, 1957 to Bristol, RI.

In 1957 SPAR conducted oceanographic operations through the Northwest passage. The culmination of this assignment occurred when the Coast Guard Cutters STORIS, BRAMBLE, and SPAR became the first vessels to circumnavigate the North American continent. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent his personal congratulations for this significant accomplishment. This impressive history was further added to in 1966 when SPAR logged over 17,000 miles and visited such ports as Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, and Ireland while conducting an oceanographic charting expedition in the Northern Atlantic.

The cutter’s homeport changed again in April 1967 to Boston, MA where it and the cutter CACTUS traded captain and crew.

In March 1973 SPAR moved to its last  homeport in South Portland, ME. SPAR went to Refresher Training in Little Creek, VA in 1981 and achieved the highest marks ever earned by an oceangoing buoy tender. In 1983, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1992, and 1995 SPAR again returned from Little Creek with outstanding marks and  proudly displayed a gold "E’ with three gold stripes for nine consecutive overall "Excellent" scores in operations and seamanship training. Because of this, SPAR was  recognized by Vice Admiral Paul Welling, Atlantic Area Commander, as "The cutter with the most gold" in the Atlantic Fleet.

SPAR was a class "C" buoy tender with an overall length of 180 feet, a beam of 37 feet, and a draft of 13 feet. The ship’s hull was constructed of welded steel and has a total displacement of 1025 tons. SPAR was a single screw driven vessel with a bow thruster. It is diesel-electric driven and generated 1200 horsepower for a maximum speed of 12 knots. The ship’s compliment consisted of forty-five enlisted members and eight officers.

The primary port calls for SPAR were Rockland, Maine and Southwest Harbor, Maine. Less frequent port calls are made to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Boston, Massachusetts, and Newport, Rhode Island.

SPAR was decommissioned on Friday, the twenty eighth of February 1997.

U.S.C.G.C. Spar — circa 1968 (18)

Diving Depths: 85-110 ft.
Current: Slight to moderate.
Visibility: 30-60 feet
Summer Temperature: High 70s
Points of Interest: Intact ocean going USCG buoy tender
Fish/Animal Life: Groups of spadefish and sand-tiger sharks usually frequent the wreck. The Spar is located several hundred yards from the Aeolus and thus similar marine life.
Description: The Spar is intact and small, making navigation on the wreck very easy even the lowest of visibility. It sits on its keel, with a 45 degree list to port. It can easily be circumnavigated in a single dive.The Spar sits very close to the Aeolus and the two sites will have similar viz and current conditions.



When it was initially sunk in 2004, the name of the Spar was easily seen on the stern - even right after a hurricane! The high starboard side of the wreck looking at the wheel house and towards the bow
The bow of the Spar Looking to the bow from just forward of the wheel house
The wreck is frequented by groups of sand-tiger sharks The bow
Looking back towards the pilot house The stern

Unless otherwise noted, all images, photos, text are Paul M. Hudy © 2023 (

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