Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Breakwater (S.P. 581)


The Navy retained the name carried by this vessel at the time of her acquisition.

(S.P. 581: tonnage 95; length 105'; beam 24'; draft 11' (mean); speed 10 knots; complement 25; armament 2 3-pounders)

Breakwater, a wooden-hulled, single-screw trawler built in 1907 at Milton, Del., was acquired by the Navy from the Lewes Fishing Co., of Lewes, Del., in the spring of 1917 for service as a minesweeper. Assigned the identification number S.P. 581; she was commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 12 May 1917.

Attached to the Fourth Naval District, Breakwater operated as a minesweeper, a tug, and a patrol vessel through the armistice in November 1918 and into the following summer. On 15 July 1919, Breakwater was assigned to Submarine Division 1 at Coco Solo, Canal Zone. That day, she received orders to assemble at Cape May, N.J., with Mansfield (ex-F. Mansfield & Son Co.) (S.P. 691) and S.P. 467 (ex-Delaware) at “the earliest practicable date and when ready proceed in company by Canal Zone to assigned stations.”

Although there is no record of her arrival, Breakwater reached her station and operated out of Coco Solo as a utility vessel with Division 1. Drydocked in the spring of 1920, Breakwater was found to be in poor shape, and a board of inspection and survey condemned her. She was placed out of commission at Coco Solo on 8 September 1920 and was sold to the Panama Construction Co. on 8 April 1921.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman
18 June 2020

Published: Thu Jun 18 15:41:26 EDT 2020