USCGC Rockaway (WAVP-377)

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USCGC Rockaway (WAVP-377)
USCGC Rockaway (WAVP-377, WAGO-377, WHEC-377, WOLE-377) sometime before the Coast Guard's 1967 adoption of the "racing stripe" markings on its ships.
Career (United States) 100x35px
Name: USCGC Rockaway
Namesake: Rockaway Inlet, on Long Island, New York, at the entrance to New York Bay
Builder: Associated Shipbuilders, Inc., Seattle, Washington
Laid down: 30 June 1941
Launched: 14 February 1942
Completed: January 1943
Acquired: Loaned by United States Navy to U.S. Coast Guard 24 December 1948
Transferred permanently from U.S. Navy to U.S. Coast Guard 26 September 1966
Commissioned: 10 January 1949
Decommissioned: 29 January 1972[1]
Reclassified: Oceanographic vessel, WAGO-377, 1965
High endurance cutter, WHEC-377, 1 May 1966
Offshore law enforcement vessel, WOLE-377, 23 September 1971
Struck: 26 September 1966 (from Navy List)
Fate: Sold for scrapping 21 October 1972
Notes: Served as United States Navy seaplane tender USS Rockaway (AVP-29) 1943-1946
General characteristics
Class and type: Casco-class cutter
Displacement: 2,390 tons (full load) in 1967
Length: 310 ft 7.75 in (94.6849 m) overall; 300 ft 0 in (91.44 m) between perpendiculars
Beam: 41 ft 2.375 in (12.55713 m) maximum
Draft: 13 ft 1 in (3.99 m) maximum aft at full load in 1967
Installed power: 6,080 horsepower (4.54 MW)
Propulsion: Fairbanks-Morse direct-reversing diesel engines, two shafts; 166,430 gallons of fuel
Speed: 18.2 knots (maximum sustained) in 1967
13.2 knots (economic) in 1967
Range: 9,902 nautical miles (18,339 kilometers) at 18.2 knots in 1967
18,289 nautical miles (33,871 kilometers) at 13.2 knots in 1967
Complement: In 1967: 151 (10 officers, 3 warrant officers, 138 enlisted personnel)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Radars in 1967 (one each): SPS-23, SPS-29D
Sonar in 1967: SQS-1
Armament: In 1967: 2 x 81-millimeter Mark 2 mortars
2 x .50-caliber (12.7-millimeter) Mark 2 machine guns
2 x Mark 32 Mod 5 antisubmarine projectors

USCGC Rockaway (WAVP-377), later WAGO-377, WHEC-377, and WOLE-377, was a Casco-class United States Coast Guard cutter in service from 1949 to 1972.

Construction and U.S. Navy service

Rockaway began life as the United States Navy Barnegat-class seaplane tender USS Rockaway (AVP-29). She was laid down on 30 June 1941 by Associated Shipbuilders, Inc. at Seattle, Washington, launched on 14 February 1942, and commissioned into the U.S. Navy on 6 January 1943. She operated primarily in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. She began conversion to a press information ship, redesignated AG-123, in July 1945 in anticipation of the invasion of Japan scheduled for 1945-1946, but this was cancelled and she was converted back into a seaplane tender when the war ended without the invasion being necessary. She was decommissioned on 21 March 1946 and placed in reserve in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Orange, Texas.

Transferred to the United States Coast Guard

Barnegat-class ships were very reliable and seaworthy and had good habitability, and the Coast Guard viewed them as ideal for ocean station duty, in which they would perform weather reporting and search and rescue tasks, once they were modified by having a balloon shelter added aft and having oceanographic equipment, an oceanographic winch, and a hydrographic winch installed.

The U.S. Navy loaned Rockaway to the Coast Guard on 24 December 1948. After undergoing conversion for use as a weather-reporting ship, she was commissioned into the Coast Guard service as USCGC Rockaway (WAVP-377) on 10 January 1949.

U.S. Coast Guard service

Rockaway was stationed at Staten Island in New York City, which remained her home port throughout her Coast Guard career. Her primary duty was to serve on ocean stations in the Atlantic Ocean to gather meteorological data. While on duty in one of these stations, she was required to patrol a 210-square-mile (544-square-kilometer) area for three weeks at a time, leaving the area only when physically relieved by another Coast Guard cutter or in the case of a dire emergency. While on station, she acted as an aircraft check point at the point of no return, a relay point for messages from ships and aircraft, as a source of the latest weather information for passing aircraft, as a floating oceanographic laboratory, and as a search-and-rescue ship for downed aircraft and vessels in distress, and engaged in law enforcement operations.

In September 1958, Rockaway salvaged a U.S. Navy seaplane 180 nautical miles (333 kilometers) from Bermuda. In December 1964, she rescued four people from the merchant ship Smith Voyager.

Rockaway was reclassified as an "oceanographic ship" and redesignated as WAGO-377 in 1965. She took part in a United States Coast Guard Academy cadet cruise in August 1965.

On 24 February 1966, Rockaway stood by the British merchant ship Parthia until a commercial tug arrived to assist Parthia.

On 1 May 1966, Rockaway again was reclassified, this time as a high endurance cutter, and was redesignated WHEC-377. On 26 September 1966 her period on loan to the Coast Guard ended when she was stricken from the Navy List and transferred permanently to the Coast Guard.

From 20 January 1967 to 30 March 1967, Rockaway conducted an "Eastern Tropical Pacific Cruise" in the Pacific off Mexico, where she undertook an oceanographic survey. From November 1967 through January 1968, she conducted an oceanographic survey off Norfolk, Virginia. She was involved in more oceanographic surveys over the Mid-Atlantic Shelf from 6 May 1968 to 12 May 1968 and again from 11 July 1968 to 18 July 1968.

From 14 January 1969 to 19 January 1969, she conducted a survival craft drift project 159 nautical miles (294 kilometers) east of the Chesapeake Bay. In August 1969, she conducted extensive oceanographic work associated with the Barbados Oceanographic and Meteorological Experiment. She then conducted more oceanographic surveys from Nova Scotia, Canada, to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, from 20 October 1969 to 23 November 1969, over the Mid-Atlantic Outer Continental Margin from 30 March 1970 to 5 April 1970, from Nova Scotia to Cape Hatteras between 19 May 1970 and 14 June 1970, and near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland between 6 October 1970 and 21 October 1970. In November 1970, she surveyed a nerve-gas dump site.

Rockaway conducted a fisheries research cruise from Nova Scotia to Cape Hatteras between 2 March 1971 and 3 April 1971. Another research cruise took her back to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland in May 1971. From 15 July 1971 to 18 September 1971, she studied the influence of Mediterranean effluent upon the Atlantic Ocean.

On 23 September 1971, Rockaway was once again reclassified, this time as an off-shore law enforcement vessel, and was redesignated WOLE-377. Her main mission was to track the locations of the Russian and Japanese fishing fleets that were at that time depleting the fishing areas off the North Atlantic coast. As a buy product of this mission the "Rock" also conducted search and rescue missions that got it the nickname of "lobster Patrol".

Decommissioning and disposal

Rockaway was decommissioned on 29 January 1972[2] She was sold for scrapping in October 1970 to BV Intershift of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.


  1. Per the United States Coast Guard Historian's Office (at However, (at places her decommissioning date on 21 September 1972.
  2. Per the United States Coast Guard Historian's Office (at However, (at places her decommissioning date on 21 September 1972.


See also