Last 41 foot utility boat retired from duty

Today, the last Coast Guard 41 foot utility boat, 41410, was retired in a ceremony that took place in Grand Haven, Michigan. This boat has been one of the Coast Guard’s most successful boat platforms, saving tens of thousands of lives over the boat’s 41 year service history. Below, we highlight the history of this asset through the eyes of a father and daughter that each spent time serving on the Coast Guard 41 foot boats.

Retired Chief Warrant Officer Jeffrey Carie speaks about his experiences aboard the Coast Guard 41 foot utility boats at the retirement ceremony for 41410. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty officer Alan Haraf.

Retired Chief Warrant Officer Jeffrey Carie speaks about his experiences aboard the Coast Guard 41 foot utility boats at the retirement ceremony for 41410. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty officer Alan Haraf.

In 1978, a young, 13-year-old boy named Jeffrey Carie had his first encounter with a Coast Guard 41-footer.

Hours earlier, Jeffrey Carie, his older brother and their father had taken a new boat out to enjoy a day on the water. Prior to leaving, the father checked the fuel gauge and ensured there were three life jackets onboard – just in case. Soon after departing the dock, the weather took a turn for the worse – rain, wind and darkness fell upon the family as night neared.

Several miles off shore on Lake St. Clair, the father was battling the weather to return safely to the dock, when he had a shocking realization: the boat was out of gas. As waves started coming up over the side of their boat, the father and older brother began to paddle the boat towards shore using two makeshift paddles. Carie steered the boat, and remembering his prior training as a Cub Scout, used the navigation lights to flash SOS, hoping someone from shore could see them.

After what felt like an eternity, the family saw a flashing blue light and flood lights coming towards them. It was a 41 foot boat from nearby Coast Guard Station St. Clair Shores, who gave them some fuel and escorted the family back to the marina.

Four years later, Jeffrey Carie had his next encounter with the Coast Guard’s 41 foot boat – but under much different circumstances.

Jeffrey Carie had enlisted in the Coast Guard reserve, and as a young fireman working at Station St. Clair Shores, he became intimately familiar with every inch of the vessel.

After transitioning to active duty, Jeffrey Carie continued his relationship with the 41-footer throughout his career on the Great Lakes.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Alan Haraf.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Alan Haraf.

While assigned to Station Milwaukee, Jeffrey Carie noticed one 41-footer that had been pulled from the water – it was 41410.

“41410 was sitting high and dry in the buoy yard and out of service,” Jeffrey Carie remembers. “She had been cannibalized for parts in order to keep other 41’s in the group going.”

Through Jeffrey Carie’s leadership and supervision, the 41410 was fully repaired and returned to the water, where it participated in countless search and rescues cases and various other operations.From remaining on scene in Chicago when a collapsed tunnel caused parts of the downtown area to flood, to rescuing four people when a plane crashed in Milwaukee harbor, the Coast Guard 41410 was there to do it all.

Later in his career, Jeffrey Carie was able to share his relationship with the 41-footers with his daughter, Kyleigh Carie, as part of a “bring your daughter to work” day at his unit.

In 2009, Kyleigh Carie joined the Coast Guard as well and, quite fittingly, was assigned to Station Milwaukee where she earned her qualifications on the boat her father had returned to service years earlier – 41410.

One night, Jeffrey Carie received a call from his daughter, who had found all his previous entries in the boat records.

“It made me proud to know I was working on the same boat my father had,” said Kyleigh Carie.

“Clearly, the 41-footer has a proven track record and has earned it’s place in Coast Guard history,” said Jeffrey Carie. “41410 has kept two generations of my family safe, and it has truly been an honor to have served aboard her.”

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  1. Don Ruppel says:

    The 41s were great boats, I earned my Coxswain rating in the C.G. Auxiliary in the 70’s on 41455 at Station Saginaw River. It was a great handling boat and well built.