Bay Ship and Yacht, Alameda, Calif., recently completed maintenance drydocking of the 165'x23'9" former presidential yacht, Potomac. Once the presidential yacht of Franklin D. Roosevelt and years later owned by Elvis Presley, the yacht currently plies the waters of San Francisco Bay as a special events, weddings and school education tour boat. The national historic landmark is owned by the Potomac Association.

Long known as the “Floating White House,” the steel yacht, which has a draft of 8'1", is under constant care and refurbishment to combat the elements of time. The Potomac Association selected Bay Ship and Yacht as the yacht's recent repair facility because the yard is so familiar with the vessel. Repairs included above and below water painting; preservation and repair of the valves; checking and maintenance of all mechanical propulsion and steering systems; structural steel repairs to tanks and hatches; and tank painting.

The boat was built at Manitowac Shipbuilding Co., Manitowac, Wis., in 1934, beginning its life as the Coast Guard cutter Electra with a crew of 45. Potomac has a running speed of 13 knots thanks to its twin Winton 6-158 diesel engines that produce 1,349 hp each to three-bladed props.

Apart from the normal bi-yearly drydocking for general maintenance such as underbody high pressure wash followed by underwater hull preservation, Bay Ship and Yacht will also be performing freeboard preservation. As a Coast Guard inspected vessel, Potomac will also have its valves, cathodic protection system, keel coolers, pumps and systems shaft bearings along with pumps and systems shafts removed for general inspection.

“The Potomac is a well maintained historic vessel with the Potomac Association ensuring through fund raising that she remains a part of Americas presidential history,” Richard Maguire, Bay Ship and Yacht’s business development manager, wrote in a recent email. “Because of the efforts by the Potomac Association and Bay Ship’s longstanding relationship concerning her repair needs, this drydocking there is little steel work required. Bay Ship always looks forward to having her here at the ship yard.

"Not only does the work force enjoy learning about this piece of history, many of our customers here in drydock at the same time will always request a tour, especially the Coast Guard. Bay Ship and Yacht intends to have the Potomac keep coming back for many years into the future."

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.