America’s Tall Ship Coming to Miami

MIAMI – The Coast Guard Barque Eagle, the only square-rigged sailing vessel presently active in the U.S. fleet, is scheduled to sail into the Port of Miami Friday at approximately 10 a.m., mooring at Bicentennial Park along Biscayne Boulevard in Downtown Miami where the public can take free tours of Eagle throughout the weekend.

Public tours of the 295-foot, three-masted sailing-vessel have been extended to the below times to allow more people to experience America’s Tall Ship:

10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday

10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sunday

Eagle visitors are advised that any bags brought aboard are subject to search by security personnel. To help avoid delays with the tour, it is strongly recommended that backpacks and large handbags not be brought aboard Eagle. Unfortunately, due to the design of the ship, Eagle is not wheel-chair accessible.

Eagle is operated and maintained by 76 Coast Guard officers, enlisted and auxiliary crewmembers. The crew guides Coast Guard Academy Cadets through a rigorous, underway work and training schedule that is filled with firefighting, damage control procedures, first aid, navigation, line handling and much more.

Because Eagle is a square-rigged sailing vessel, its main mode of propulsion is by sail. This requires the crew and cadets to climb sometimes more than 130 feet above the deck of the ship to set, maintain or haul-in sails. This builds confidence and facilitates teamwork among all hands.

On the deck of Eagle, cadets must heave around on 190 lines to set the ship’s sails. Junior cadets are put in the position of line captain where they lead 10 to 15 people in heaving around on a line to set a sail. This helps build valuable leadership skills and promotes teamwork among the junior or third class cadets.

The more senior cadets aboard Eagle, or first class cadets, are responsible for direct organization, oversight and direction of approximately 100 third class cadets. These cadets will be seniors at the Coast Guard Academy next fall. Eagle gives them the opportunity to run their own cadet divisions, direct shipboard operations and juggle numerous collateral duties. This prepares them to do similar tasks after graduation while aboard their first assignments at a Coast Guard cutter, air station or sector command.

About 90 percent of the crew are trained and certified Coast Guard instructors. This is critical because Eagle’s primary mission is training future Coast Guard officers. All crewmembers, from the least-experienced seaman to the highest-ranking officer, must complete numerous break-in and qualification standards when they report aboard. This ensures the crew can meet the demands of the training environment aboard Eagle, thus creating a safe and beneficial training program for more than 600 future officers per year.

Eagle, built in the early 20th century during the twilight era of sailing, has a rich and diverse history. The name “Eagle” has resonated throughout Coast Guard history and has been the namesake of seven different cutters since the Coast Guard’s inception in 1790.

The Coast Guard Barque Eagle was originally a German navy training vessel, bearing the name Horst Wessel. In 1946 the Horst Wessel was taken as a World War II war prize by the United States and became the seventh ship named Eagle.

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