USCGC Bristol Bay [WTGB-102]

USCGC Bristol Bay [WTGB-102]


Icebreaker Tugboat; Paired with barge CGB-12001

Detroit, MI

USCGC Bristol Bay / CGB 12001, Port Huron, MI, 7/9/2017. Isaac Pennock


Build Information

Year Built: 1979

Builder: Tacoma Boatbuilding, Tacoma, WA

Hull #–

Registry: US –

IMO # —

Laid Down: 1978

Launch Date: 1979

Delivered: 1979

Commissioned: April 5, 1979

  • CGB-12001


Bristol Bay was the second ship of the Bay Class USCG Icebreaking tugboats. The Bay class vessels were designed to replace the Coast Guard’s aging class of 110′ harbor tugs. The Bay Class tugs feature a strengthened icebreaking hull, and is capable of breaking 20 inches at continuous speed and 6-9 feet while backing and ramming. The Bay Class tugs are also equipped with a unique “bubbler” hull air lubrication system. The bubbler pushes air through ports on the cutters hull, allowing for an upward flow of air and water along the hull, reducing friction and increasing efficiency.

There were 9 Bay Class tugboats constructed for U.S. Coast Guard service, and 6 of them are stationed on the Great Lakes. Those are the Katmai Bay, Bristol Bay, Mobile Bay, Biscayne Bay, Neah Bay, and Morro Bay.


  • Service Life Extension Program, U.S. Coast Guard Shipyard, Baltimore, MD, 2016.

General Stats

Length Overall: 140′

Breadth: 37’06”

Depth: 12′

Vessel Type: Icebreaker Tugboat

Propellers: 1

Rudders: 1

Crew Compliment: 17 [3 Officers / 14 Enlisted]

Engineering Equipment



Engine Type: Diesel Engines

Engine Manufacturer: Fairbanks Morse, Beloit, WI

Engine Model: 10-38D8-1/8

Number of Engines: 2


Motor Type: Diesel-Electric

Motor Manufacturer: Westinghouse Electric, Pittsburgh, PA

Rated HP: 2500 BHP



USCGC Bristol Bay [WTGB-102] – 1979-Present

Owner: United States Coast Guard, Washington D.C.

Operator: United States Coast Guard, 9th District, Cleveland, OH

Flag: United States

Home Port: Detroit, MI

Station History

  • Detroit, MI – 1979-Present

Her Story

USCGC Bristol Bay was constructed in 1978 by Tacoma Boatbuilding of Tacoma, WA, as an icebreaking tugboat for the U.S. Coast Guard. She was the second ship of her class, and was completed in late 1978. Following completion, she sailed to the Great Lakes where she was commissioned on April 5, 1979, and took up station at Detroit, MI.

In August 1991, Bristol Bay was mated with the specially-designed 120′ long Aids-to-Navigation (ATON) tender barge CGB-12001 to allow her to assist with buoy tending duties. She normally sails with the barge from the spring to the fall while detaching for the winter icebreaking season.

In 2016, Bristol Bay went to the U.S. Coast Guard’s shipyard in Baltimore, MD, where she underwent her Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) refit. She returned to the Great Lakes at the end of the year.

USCGC Bristol Bay remains an important asset to the Coast Guard’s Great Lakes icebreaking and buoy tending fleet, and assists in keeping marine traffic moving during the winter months.

Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on December 17, 2021.


“CGC Bristol Bay”. United States Coast Guard, N.d. Accessed 17 December 2021. <>

LeLievre, Roger. Know Your Ships 2021. Marine Publishing Co., 2021. Pp. 86

U.S. Coast Guard. (2015). Welcome Aboard: USCGC Biscayne Bay (WTGB 104). [Brochure].