SAN DIEGO –The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell returned to Naval Base San Diego Wednesday, completing the final scheduled patrol of its Coast Guard career.
During the 41-day deployment in the Bering Sea, Boutwell’s crew served a search-and-rescue asset enforced federal living marine resources and commercial fishing vessel safety regulations.
Within the past six months, Boutwell has made two trips to Alaskan waters. Over the course of these patrols, crews conducted 29 fisheries boardings as well as two helicopter medical evacuations. Additionally, the Boutwell served as one of the final assets to support Operation Arctic Shield which provided safety zone enforcement for Shell oil rigs drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
“Boutwell’s efforts epitomized the U.S. Coast Guard’s commitment to the safety of mariners who operate in the harsh conditions of the Bering Sea in winter,” said Capt. Charles Cashin, chief of staff, Coast Guard’s Seventeenth District. “The ship’s actions positively influenced this critical industry, as Alaskan fisheries comprise over 59 percent of the national catch, valued at over six billion dollars annually.”
During a mid-patrol break, Boutwell’s crew stopped in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, in order to spend Thanksgiving with the local community. For several years, the residents of Dutch Harbor have been welcoming Coast Guard men and women into their homes through the “Host a Coastie” program. Each year during Thanksgiving, these families voluntarily host members of visiting Coast Guard ships and provide them with a traditional spread of holiday cooking.
During Boutwell’s 47th and final year of Coast Guard operation, its crew spent 219 days away from homeport. The crew participated in four deployments and traveled more than 40,000 nautical miles, spanning 64 degrees of latitude. During this period, they supported more than half of the Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions, with a primary focus on counterdrug, search and rescue, and living marine resource enforcement operations.
“This was a challenging and rewarding year for Boutwell,” said Capt. Edward Westfall, Boutwell’s Commanding Officer. “Her successes add to a long and storied Coast Guard career. Her response to tasking and performance across all of her capabilities is testimony to all who have served aboard, past and present.”
Boutwell is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2016. Following the decommissioning, the ship will undergo preparations to be sold to the Philippines under the Foreign Military Sales program.
The Boutwell is a 378-foot high endurance cutter.