Coast Guard boat stations in Alaska have been re-equipped with five new 29’ response boat-small vessels from Metal Shark, Jeanerette, La., replacing older 25’ Defender-class boats nearing the end of service life.

Deliveries to the Coast Guard 17th District began May 17 when the Ketchikan station received two boats, followed by one that arrived at Valdez on June 19 and two in Juneau on June 27.

“We are very excited about acquiring these new boats, and the improved capabilities they offer,” said Chief Warrant Officer Seth Carter, the station and Small Boat manager for the 17th District in Juneau, in announcing the deliveries. “Our crews will use these new boats to provide enhanced support to the Alaskan communities they serve.”

The new boats will operate in coastal waters on missions including search and rescue, law enforcement, ports, waterways and coastal security, drug and migrant interdiction and environmental protection and response, Coast Guard officials say. The updated design, also known as the RBS II, was revamped with more emphasis on ergonomics and crew comfort to improve endurance.

The Coast Guard contracted with Metal Shark in September 2011 to replace the 25’ Defenders, a design adopted by the Coast Guard in 2002. The first deliveries began in June 2012.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.