USRC Vigilant (1791)

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painting of an early Revenue Marine cutter

Vigilant was one of the original ten cutters[a] built and used by the United States Revenue Cutter Service.[b][3] Her name meant: On the alert; watchful.[4] Vigilant was launched in 1791 in New York and was used to patrol New York waters.[3]

History[change | change source]

Her design was that of a schooner.[5] She was rigged with fore-and-aft sails on two masts. She was 48 feet (15 m) long and had a shallow draft of only 6 feet (1.8 m).[6] Vigilant, launched in March 1791, it was probably the first cutter in the water.[7] She was not, however, the first to enter into active service.[c] Her first patrol was in December 1791.[7] Her first master was Patrick Dennis, appointed on 6 October 1790.[4] He also supervised the construction.[4] Dennis served as master until his death on February 9, 1798.[4]

Her assigned waters included New York Harbor, the coast of New York and New Jersey, Long Island Sound and the Hudson River as far as Albany, New York.[4] On November 14, 1798 Vigilant was sold for £348.[4] The Revenue Cutter Service decided the Vigilant was not large enough to carry out her duties.[4] Nothing further is known of the cutter after that date.[4]

Related pages[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. The term cutter came from the boats used by Great Britain's Royal Customs Service.[1] Modern Coast Guard cutters are any larger ship no matter what the type.[1]
  2. Also called the Revenue Marine. Together with the United States Life-Saving Service, the United States Revenue Cutter Service formed the United States Coast Guard on 28 January 1915.[2]
  3. According to Coast Guard tradition, the cutter USRC Massachusetts, launched in July 1791, was the first to be commissioned as a USRS cutter.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Eighteenth, Nineteenth & Early Twentieth Century Revenue Cutters". United States Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  2. Robert Scheina. "The Coast Guard At War". United States Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "The First Ten Cutters; The first commissioned U.S. Revenue cutters". United States Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 "Vigilant, 1791". United States Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  5. Horatio Davis Smith, Early History of the United States Revenue Marine Service, ed. Elliot Snow (Washington, DC: Coast Guard Bicentennial Publication, 1989), p. 34
  6. Ryan White, Monday (August 5, 2009). "Then and Now Part 1 – From Sails to Turbines". Coast Guard Compass. United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "1790 - 1915: Revenue Cutters, The First Ten". Coast Guard Modeling. Retrieved 17 October 2016.

Other websites[change | change source]