USCGC Fir - (WLM-212)
International Call Sign: November-Romeo-Yankee-Romeo
Fir was one of three boats commissioned by the United States Lighthouse Service during the 1930s. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock (WLB-214) was first to launch in 1937 followed by the Walnut (WLM-252) in 1939. Commissioned on October 1, 1940 as Fir (WAGL-212) she would be the last of three delivered.
Built by Moore Drydock Company, Oakland, California she was fitted with a reinforced bow and stern along with an ice-belt at her water-line. She was built with classic lines, yet her appointments were lavish to include mahogany, teak, and brass. The crew would further embellish her with intricate ropework throughout. In 1940 the cost to build Fir was approximately $390,000. Current appraisals estimate her replacement cost at $24 million.
From 1940 through 1991 Fir was stationed in Seattle, Washington. This would be her homeport for all but one of her 51 years. From July 1982 to September 1983 she was assigned to Long Beach, California to takeover duties for the decommissioned USCGC Walnut.
In July, 1939 the United States Lighthouse Service merged with the United States Coast Guard. As a result, Fir was the last boat built for the Lighthouse Service, and on October 1, 1940 she was commissioned as a United States Coast Guard Cutter. With the beginning of World War II Fir was assigned to the United States Navy and armed with M2 Browning .50 caliber machine guns, a depth gun, and depth charges for war service. Her duties included coastal defense and patrolling the waters of Washington and Oregon.
In 1965 Fir was reclassified as USCG tender Fir (WLM-212) and would be best known for maintaining aids to navigation. Her primary responsibilities would include transportation of lighthouse keepers, and their provisions along, and servicing lightships with fuel, water, and relief personnel.
FIr was decommissioned in October 1991. In April 1992 she was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.
After decommissioning Fir remained in Seattle, Washington for several years while efforts were made to turn her into a floating museum. When these efforts failed, she was transferred in 1997 to the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) facility in Suisun Bay, California. With her shafts and rudder locked, Fir was towed 930 miles from Seattle to San Francisco's Golden Gate by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mariposa. There she he was met by a commercial tug to take her the rest of the way to Suisun Bay where she would be stored in the Reserve Fleet until the end of 2001. .In 2002 Fir was transferred to the Liberty Maritime Museum in Sacramento, California.
In 2003, Fir was towed to Rio Vista, California. She was moored on the Sacramento River, across from Rio Vista.
In November 2007, Fir was put up for sale, asking $95,000. In June 2010, she moved to San Francisco and moored at Pier 38. By 2012 Fir was undergoing restoration and owned by Curtis Lind. As of May 2014 Fir was for sale at a price of $360,000. She was moved again after a dispute at Pier 38.
In the spring of 2017 Fir was purchased by The Lighthouse Project LLC, a Virginia group dedicated to the restoration and repurposing of this historical landmark. Renovations have been ongoing.