Smith was one of the many onlookers and supporters who watched as the boat came down Harbor Drive to Station Grand Haven on Tuesday afternoon.
The boat was the result of an effort of local organizations and volunteers. A crew from Brink Truck Lines generously transported the boat from Freeport, Texas, to its temporary home at Station Grand Haven.
Truck driver Terry DeVries, a former Coast Guardsman, said he was excited about the opportunity to bring the new boat to Grand Haven.
“It brings back a lot of memories,” he said.
The new 41-foot boat is the same type used by Station Grand Haven from 1976-98. It arrives after city crews this past fall removed an older 36-foot motor life boat and took it to a Muskegon museum. The landmark boat was in poor condition and was in need of a storage facility to protect it from the elements.
“If you’re going to have a Coast Guard City USA, you’re going to have to do it right and have a boat there,” said Tony Fiore, president of the Grand Haven chapter of the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association.
During winter, the new boat will be placed in storage at the Coast Guard facilities, and then the restoration process will begin.
“(The process is) basically refitting some things, painting it, scraping it a little bit, reinstalling some gear on top, and getting it ready for display and ready to welcome guests to Coast Guard City USA once again,” Smith said.
Fiore added that crews also plan on adding the number 41448 to the side — the same number of the similar boat that served in Grand Haven. He said he also thought about having the boat’s navigational lights lit at night.
Mayor Geri McCaleb was also pleased with the new boat.
“This is very cool and I am looking forward to seeing it out there whenever they get it ready,” she said. “It will be impressive to see.”
According to those who are in charge of the project, the new boat will be placed sometime this spring.
Fiore said Bill Peak of the Rendezvous Restaurant was working with local entities to plan a big celebration in the spring once the new boat is installed.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Coast Guard boat's continuing maintenance fund at the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation can send their contribution to: 7th Street Coast Guard Boat Fund, Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, 1 S. Harbor, Grand Haven, MI 49417.
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