Woods Hole, MA – Every three years, Coast Guard Cutter Sanibel’s crew halts their routine patrols of the Northeast Atlantic waters.

The cutter must be pulled from its berth to undergo an intense reconditioning period to halt the inevitable aging of the 110-foot cutter fleet.

The dedicated crew of 17, who perform life-saving search and rescue, and living marine resource patrols out of their homeport in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, also routinely battle nearly 30 years worth of upkeep challenges while serving aboard their white-hulled cutter.

A crewmember from Coast Guard Cutter Sanibel climbs the ladder to check on maintenance work on the deck of the ship at Goodison Shipyard in Quonset, Rhode Island on Nov. 15, 2017. The Cutter is homeported in Woods Hole, Massachusetts and has a crew of 17. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll)

Over the summer, the crew transported Sanibel to the Goodison Shipyard in Quonset Point, Rhode Island, with a major work list of more than 50 items needing repairs or to be replaced – maintenance necessary to keep this Coast Guard crew mission-ready.

The cutter’s engineers were finally able to do work only available in dry dock such as preservation work and mechanical reconstruction. The mess deck, which is also used as the training area, needed a new sound and vibration abatement system. The crew needed a complete replacement of running gear such as propellers, shafts, and bearings to keep the cutter sailing at its full potential.

With an initial estimate of $835,000, Sanibel’s crew and the shipyard employees teamed up to take apart, repair, and rebuild Sanibel.

“We worked very well with the shipyard crew, and the interpersonal relationship made for a successful dry dock,” said Lt. j.g. James Fasoli, executive officer of Sanibel.

Coast Guard Cutter Sanibel is in drydock with Goodison Shipyard in Quonset, Rhode Island on Nov. 15, 2017. The Cutter is homeported in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole J. Groll)

Sanibel’s crew worked tirelessly completing inspections for the seemingly never-ending list of repairs, knowing their goal was to get the cutter back in the water and ready for any task her crew was assigned.

In addition to the work inspections, the crew stood watch, attended additional training schools, and supported their sister ships by standing temporary duty aboard other Northeast Coast Guard Cutters including Hammerhead, Sitkinak, and Key Largo.

When the improvements were complete, it cost more than $1 million to make Sanibel seaworthy again.

The necessary dry dock period was not only challenging for the crew but for their families as well.

“We appreciate the families’ patience and understanding during the dry dock period,” said Lt. Michael Higbie, commanding officer of Sanibel. “Even though we were only in Coventry, most of the crew stayed in local lodging to ensure a successful maintenance period.”

Moored back at its homeport, the Sanibel is once again mission-ready, and its crew is eager to get back out on the water. With the new modernization, the crew is able to patrol for about seven days without a return to shore, maximizing the crew’s ability to respond to offshore emergencies.

The crew is ready to face the unpredictable Northeast Atlantic waters knowing Sanibel is up for the task and not looking a day over 30.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.