PORTSMOUTH, Va. — After months of training, the crew of Coast Guard Station Wrightsville Beach, N.C., is finished qualifying on their 45-foot Response Boat - Medium, the 126th of 170 RB-Ms being delivered to the service.
The RB-M replaces the 41-foot Utility Boat, which has been the Coast Guard's workhorse of the fleet for more than 25 years.
The RB-M's top speed of 49 miles per hour gets the boat’s crew to the scene faster and reduces crew fatigue. The new design includes a full cabin to protect the crew from the elements, provides heating and air conditioning, and features shock-mitigating seats.
The RB-M is more maneuverable, can accommodate light machine guns and its propulsion system complies with EPA and International Maritime Organization emissions standards. It boasts an advanced navigation system and a communication system capable of interacting with other federal, state, local and homeland security partners.
The RB-M is a multi-mission boat that can operate in coastal zones including inshore and inland waterways and open ocean out to 50 nautical miles. Primary missions for the RB-M include search and rescue; ports, waterways and coastal security; defense readiness and marine environmental protection.
Station Wrightsville Beach’s RB-M is number 126 of approximately 170 boats being delivered to the Coast Guard during a period of eight to 10 years, half of which are being built in Kent, Wash., by Marinette Marine Corporation’s major subcontractor, Kvichak Marine Industries of Seattle, Wash. MMC is building the other half of the fleet in Green Bay, Wis.