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AFSC Historical Corner:  Charters and Other Non-Agency Vessels

Early Pioneers
Research and Mgmt.
The Albatross, 1882
Early BOF Patrol Boats
FWS Vessels
Newer Research Ships
Pribilof Tenders
Launches/Small Craft
Charters/Other Boats
Vessel Links
By the 1950s, the 50-foot charter Harlequin had been patrolling in Alaska for over 20 years.
Auke Bay Laboratories photo.  Frederick C. Robards, photographer?

To supplement the Bureau of Fisheries' growing Alaska fleet in the 1920s and 1930s, vessels were frequently chartered from private parties or occassionally borrowed from other government agencies. These boats were usually acquired temporarily each year, primarily for fisheries enforcement. The U.S. Coast Guard cutters continued providing open-water patrol in the North Pacific and Bering Sea, protecting the fur seal herds and other marine mammals as it had done since 1867. As the Bureau gained more vessels, and the use of aircraft, the need for charters diminished by the late 1930s.

Known boats chartered or borrowed by the Bureau from 1913-39 for Alaska fisheries patrol.  (by region of operation)
America First - 1926
Anona - 1925, 1927-28
Anthonette - 1920, Juneau
Baranoff (17 ton) - 1913-14, Wrangell
Bear - 1928-31
Bee (launch) - 1918
Chirikov - 1931
Daring - 1925
Diamond T - 1925
Diana - 1925-26
Dixie (launch) - 1920, Juneau
Emma - 1921
Gazelle - 1932
Gloria - 1926-27
Gordon D - 1932
Helen F - 1930
Helen Hinton - 1929-31
Highway (from Bureau of Public Roads) - 1929
Igloo - 1924, 1926
Janie K - 1929
Jazz - 1924
Kitty (launch) - 1918
Lady Luck - 1929-32, 1934
Lily - 1921
Lovera (7 ton) - 1913-14, Ketchikan
Lue (launch) - 1913, Juneau and Icy Strait
Mars - 1935-36, Ketchikan
May (launch) - 1918
Murrelet (6 ton) - 1916, 1924-26
My Fancy (launch) - 1918
Pheasant - 1927
Rainbow - 1924
Santa Rita (8 ton) - 1913-14, 1928, Juneau
Standard (15 ton) - 1913, 1915-16, 1921
Sterling - 1933-34, Ketchikan
T-433 - 1927, troll-caught salmon tagging
Truth - 1913, Ketchikan
Try It - 1920, Juneau
Typhoon - 1928
Valkyrie - 1926-31
Yakobi - 1927
Yukon - 1929
Central (Gulf of Alaska)
Angelus (launch) - 1917, Prince William Sound (PWS)
Auger - 1924, Cook Inlet
Blue Ointment - 1924, Cook Inlet
Buzzard - 1924, PWS
Coyote - 1921, 1929-31
Ellona - 1918, PWS and Copper River
Emma - 1924, PWS
Fog - 1924, Cook Inlet
Harlequin - 1932, Port Valdez
Katherine L - 1931-33, PWS and Copper River
King U-109 - 1925-26, PWS
Lily - 1925, PWS
Nimrod (8 ton auxiliary schooner) - 1916-17, Cook Inlet
Pilot - 1926-30, PWS and Copper River
Prospector (7 ton launch) - 1916, 1918, 1920-21, 1924-32,
                                        PWS and Copper River
Shamrock (7 ton) - 1916, PWS
Stanley - 1930, PWS and Copper River
Wingham - 1934-39, Seward-Katalla
Alaska Peninsula / Bering Sea
Alasco II - 1937, Orzenoi to Pavlof Bay
Auk - 1925-32, 1936, Ikatan-Shumagin and Port Moller
Marie S (launch) - 1933-36, 1938, Kuskokwim River
Popof - 1936
Robin - 1924-27, Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers
T-433 - 1925-26, Kuskokwim River
Area unknown
Iowa - 1915


After the Bureau of Fisheries reorganized into the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in 1940, the vessel focus turned more towards research. This was evident with the building of several boats after World War II for exploratory fishing and gear testing in the Pacific and Alaskan waters. The use of private and non-Agency vessels – by the FWS, Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (BCF, 1956-69), and National Marine Fisheries Service (since 1970, under NOAA) – continued through to the present time (2011).

The following exemplifies a few of these vessels  (click images to enlarge):

  Bertha Ann, click to enlarge
Bertha Ann
1960s: chartered for high-seas salmon surveys and to support the BCF Pribilof Island tenders, replaced by the BCF ship George B. Kelez in 1962.

  California Rose, click to enlarge
California Rose
A 78-foot purse seiner chartered to capture salmon for tagging. Originally built as a California tuna clipper, she was later used as a Puget Sound salmon seiner and converted for winter king crab fishing around Kodiaid Island in the mid-1960s. An 8,000-gal. circulating sea-water tank was added for holding salmon to be tagged.

  Chapman, click to enlarge
Chapman  (NOAA, in service 1980-98) worked primarily for the Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering (RACE) Division in the Bering Sea and western Gulf of Alaska. Made an Auke Bay Laboratory sablefish project cruise in late 1984. Later sent to the Gulf of Mexico. Decommissioned in 1998.

Tarleton H. Bean  (named after a fisheries ichthyologist and nicknamed the "Bean Barge") was probably used by the BCF in Alaska as a support vessel for enforcement field work at salmon weir camps prior to 1960. She burned and sank in Gastineau Channel.

  Townsend Comwell, click to enlarge
Townsend Cromwell
(NOAA ship)
worked for the Auke Bay Laboratory on sablefish and rockfish studies.

  Researcher, click to enlarge
Territory of Alaska, Fisheries Experimental Commission vessel; used by the FWS in the late 1940s.

  Vesteraalen, click to enlarge
2002:  groundfish assessment survey in the Aleutians.
2009:  Gulf of Alaska bottom trawl surveys.

  Aldebaran and Arcturus, click to enlarge
Aldebaran and Arcturus 
1990s and 2000s:  eastern Bering Sea crab and groundfish surveys.
Yaquina, click to enlarge
Yaquina  1962: GOA shellfish explorations
Sonny Boy, click to enlarge
Sonny Boy  1966: king crab survey
Commander, click to enlarge
(Univ. of Wash.)
North Star, click to enlarge
North Star
Cruiser, click to enlarge
American Star, click to enlarge
American Star
Ronquil sketch
Ronquil  (24')
Chum sketch
Mitkof 1955:  Gulf of Alaska (GOA) salmon distribution surveys.
Paragon 1955:  GOA salmon distribution surveys.
1960-61:  red king crab bottom trawl surveys in the Bering Sea.
1964:  trawl drags at over 200 stations throughout the GOA and in selected sections of the Bering Sea.
Mist 1960:  crab tagging operations at Kachemak Bay, Alaska – 2,800 crabs were taken in June.
Tordenskjold 1955-61 (known):  exploratory Alaska red king crab cruises.
Little Lady 1966:  shrimp gear testing and exploratory fishing survey off Prince of Wales Island.
Northwest Explorer     2002:  Bearing Sea bottom trawl surveys.
2003:  GOA bottom trawl surveys.
Sea Storm 2002:  Bearing Sea bottom trawl surveys.
2003:  GOA bottom trawl surveys.
2009:  GOA bottom trawl surveys.
Gladiator 2003:  GOA bottom trawl surveys.
Pacific Explorer 2009:  GOA bottom trawl surveys.

Photo credits:

Bertha Ann:  August 1961. Archival Photograph by Mr. Steve Nicklas, NGS/RSD.  NOAA Photo Library.
California Rose:  Auke Bay Laboratories (AFSC).
ChapmanNOAA Photo Library.
Townsend CromwellNOAA Photo Library.
Researcher:  Auke Bay Laboratories.  E. P. Haddon, photographer (bottom enlargement).
Vesteraalen:  Jay Orr (AFSC)
YaquinaNOAA Photo Library.
Sonny Boy:  Auke Bay Laboratories.
Commander:  Auke Bay Laboratories.
Aldebaran and Arcturus:  1999 AFSC website photo, photographer unknown.
North Star:  Auke Bay Laboratories.
Cruiser:  Auke Bay Laboratories.
American Star:  1941. Coast & Geodetic Survey Season's Report Patterson 1941-73.  NOAA Photo Library.
Ronquil:  sketch,  Auke Bay Laboratories.
Chum:  sketch,  Auke Bay Laboratories.

Related topics:

Stream watchmen
Launches / small craft

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