Cold cast resin model ship collectible. Limited edition
of 4000 units.
10" Long by 7" High.
The Coast Guard Cutter George Cobb is the 14th of the Keeper Class of Coastal Buoy Tenders constructed by the Marinette Marine Corporation. The 175-foot vessel joins a fleet of technically advanced, highly capable markers that employ automated engineering and computer-based navigation and communications systems. Despite a crew of fewer than 20, the USCGC George Cobb ably and efficiently maintains the integrity of West Coast buoys from its home base in San Pedro, California. Both buoys and the ships that tend them have evolved from a need that increased as the nation and its shipping lanes grew.
In addition to regulating the construction and maintenance of lighthouses, the old Lighthouse Board was also responsible for developing and overseeing the buoyage system in the nation’s shipping lanes. Until the mid-1800s, responsibility for placement and upkeep of these vital navigational aids was left to local jurisdictions, which, with the lack of a standard and means of upkeep had resulted in haphazard conditions for mariners.
In 1851, the Lighthouse Board reported that the development of steam vessels made the adoption of sound and light buoys critical. Larger and faster vessels meant larger and more visible buoys, which also meant a need for larger, more maneuverable tenders. The small boats used to maintain buoys could not cope with the changes in both design and size. Better accuracy in placement became more vital and sailing tenders were useless for accurate placement because the tender could not hold steady. The Lighthouse Board moved to solve these issues by obtaining steam-propelled tenders.
The first such buoy tender was completed in 1857 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It was named the USLHS Shubrick. The new tender served the Pacific Coast and clearly demonstrated the advantage of steam-powered tenders over sail. As a result of the Shubrick success, the Lighthouse Board ordered additional steam vessels.
When Congress established the Lighthouse Service in 1910, its first director continued the progressive advances of the old Lighthouse Board. The most important navigational aid – the radio beacon – changed the face of navigation, No longer did a mariner have to physically see a buoy. Advancements in technology continued throughout the 20th Century and today’s buoys weigh several tons, employing more intricate systems, and requiring the expertise of larger, more versatile tenders.
Tenders are divided into classes, identified by size and tending capacity. The largest are seagoing vessels, 180-feet long and capable of lifting up to 20 tons and with ice-breaking bows. The second class is coastal tenders, ranging from 133 feet to 175 feet, with a lifting capacity of 10 tons and a high degree of maneuverability. The third class is comprised of inland tenders, which are smaller vessels.
Named for a courageous keeper of the Point Bonita Lighthouse, who braved a gale on Christmas Day, 1896, to save three sailors, the George Cobb is also equipped for search and rescue. Its work is vital to the safe passage of ships in and out of California ports – providing a buoy system that is accurate and effective – and enduring the inherent risks and dangers of the sea.