CG 36500  RESTORATION

After restoration

Before restoration

From the upper Cape

  • Take the Mid-Cape Highway
    Rt. 6 to the Orleans Rotary.

  • Exit the rotary onto Rock Harbor Rd. (3rd turn off after entering).

  • Follow Rock Harbor Rd. to end.

  • The CG36500 is berthed at the far end of the parking area.

From the lower Cape

  • Take Rt. 6 to the Orleans Rotary.

  • Exit the rotary onto Rock Harbor Rd. (1st turn off after entering).

  • Follow Rock Harbor Rd. to end.

  • The CG36500 is berthed at the far end of the parking area.

Check out this fabulous article all about it by Brian Tarcy in the Cape Cod Wave HERE!

The recently released Disney film The Finest Hours, directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Eric Johnson and Paul Tamasy, based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias was featured on CBS on January 30, 2016. The actual CG36500 motor lifeboat involved in the rescue, fully restored and operational, is owned by the Orleans Historical Society and still plies its home waters of Cape Cod.

On the night of February 18, 1952, during a raging 70-knot nor’easter snowstorm, four Coast Guardsmen (coxswain Bernard C. “Bernie” Webber, Andrew Fitzgerald, Ervin Maske and Richard Livesey) set out on the 36500 to rescue crewmen on the tanker Pendleton that had broken apart in a storm. Incredibly, they returned to the Chatham Live-Saving Station with 32 survivors—on a bot designed to carry half that number safely. All the “Coasties” received the Gold Life-Saving Medal for their bravery under these almost impossible conditions.

The fate of the CG36500 is a rescue story in itself. After more than two decades of Coast Guard service, the 36-foot wooden lifeboat was retired in 1968 and sat neglected and nearly forgotten for years. The Orleans Historical Society acquired the boat in 1981, and it has been carefully rebuilt and maintained by many dedicated volunteers with support of generous grants and individual donations.

Today the CG36500 is the only operating survivor if its class on the East Coast, and one of only a handful that still exists anywhere in the country. This Gold Medal boat is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and can be viewed by the public nearly year-round at its berths in Orleans (directions below). Special onboard Talks and Tours are scheduled on summer weekends at Rock Harbor. Visit the Orleans Historical Society Museum to view memorabilia and read the story of an incredible night on the high seas off Chatham back in 1952.

The CG36500 is at its winter berth at Nauset Marine East.

Motor Lifeboat CG36500 was built in 1946 at Curtis Bay, Maryland Coast Guard Yard, as all 36 footer's were, and stationed at the Chatham, Massachusetts Coast Guard Lifeboat Station. Like most 36's, it had an active and glorious career with many rescues. It was taken out of service in 1968 after being re-engined from a Sterling gas engine to diesel. It was replaced by the new and improved 44 foot twin diesel, all steel Motor Life Boat. It, like the other 36's, had outlived its usefulness. There isn't much fanfare when this occurs, even though to many Coasties, it is a sad day. Most were destroyed, but some got saved for display at museums and historical societies.

Decommissioned in 1968, the boat was donated to the Cape Cod National Seashore for a display at their Coast Guard exhibit in Eastham. This move was never completed because of a shortage of funds for restoration. CG36500 was left to deteriorate until Bill Quinn and the Orleans Historical Society intervened, acquired ownership, and executed a comprehensive restoration.The vessel was eventually restored by OHS volunteers to her present mission; a floating museum dedicated to the memory of the Life Savers of Cape Cod. The Lifeboat now once again travels the waters on Cape Cod and beyond.

Restoration history:

2006 Maintenance

In addition to the normal sanding, priming and painting, the following major projects were accomplished:

  • Needle gunning of the entire Monel sheathed bottom and the bronze keel and rudder to remove layers of built up bottom paint. Needle gunning uses an air driven "gun" with 19 steel needles that attack the paint and loosen it. This method is good for uneven surfaces like the Monel plating.

  • Removal of the original Monel propeller shaft. The 1 1/2" shaft was very worn at the cutless bearing and vibration underway had been apparent. A replacement shaft from another boat was obtained and cut down to the proper length. A new flange was procured and fit to the shaft by Enterprise Machine Co. of Chatham.

  • Repacking of the internal stuffing box. This required the replacement of six pieces of flax packing, each one carefully rotated 90 degrees from the one before it. This job and the shaft work had to be done under difficult circumstances, as the person doing it has to lay on his side.

  • Repair of the foredeck area. The section aft of the scuttle coaming had been wet for many years and some evidence of rot was apparent from below in the survivors compartment. The fiberglass covering was carefully cut away, revealing two layers of riveted 3/8" cedar on top of the deck frames. The affected frames were treated with thin epoxy, then built up flush. Two layers of 3/8 " marine plywood were shaped and glued in with 3M 4200 sealant. The underside of the fiberglass was ground down and the pieces were cemented down with 4200.

  • Replacement of two oil filter assemblies with new spin on units. These will make oil filter replacements easier in the future. The fuel filter was changed at this time as well.

  • The compass was removed and serviced by Jeff Kauffman of Cape Compass in Falmouth. The lubber lines were repainted and the fluid replaced.

  • A 12 volt outlet was added where the bilge pump switches are housed. This feature will allow us to recharge cell phones, plug in an inexpensive spotlight, or anything else 12 volt that can connect with a cigarette lighter adapter.

  • A second VHF radio has been installed on the boat.

The all volunteer crew of the CG36500 is extremely grateful to the J.W. Dubis Company of Chatham for providing a suitable work place for us to accomplish these tasks.

In excess of 330 man hours were expended on these tasks between March 31 st and May 17th, 2006.

Funding for this maintenance project came from fundraising efforts, private donations, the Orleans Historical Society and valuable volunteer service.

2007 Maintenance

Ongoing annual maintenance work was performed by volunteers from the Orleans community and the U.S. Coast Guard Station Chatham. PCPO's (Potential Chief Petty Officers) and members of the Cape Cod Consolidated Mess donated a day of labor preparing the 36500 for relaunch in Spring 2007.

Some of the local volunteers were: Bob Bolin, Al Danielson, Howard Kucks, Bud Bemont, Dick Besciak

1/9

Funding for this restoration project came from fundraising efforts, private donations, the Orleans Historical Society and valuable volunteer service.

2008 Maintenance

In 2008, Pleasant Bay Boat and Spar undertook an extensive restoration project for the Orleans Historical Society. The 1946 motorized lifeboat, CG36500 was managed by Pete Kennedy and his crew of volunteers for OHS and maintained through donor contributions and a lot of volunteer labor.

The last professionally managed restoration work was in 1996 at Pease Boat Works in Chatham. That phase included structural work from the keel up to the rails. Now it was time to tackle the turtle backs (cabins) cockpit soles and side decks.

The 36500 arrived at the shop in November 2008. The crew of volunteers began dismantling the bulkheads, floors, turtleback sheathing and side decks down to the frames, pulling out thousands of copper rivets and carefully preserving the integrity of the sub structure.

By the New Year, the crew of Pleasant Bay Boat and Spar were ready to take over. Frames were patched and plugged, then sealed with penetrating epoxy. New fir side decks were installed. The bulkheads were replaced with ¾" Okoume plywood. The cockpit sole needed to be reframed, and then replanked with new VG Doulas fir.

The turtlebacks proved to be the most interesting. The original cabins were double planked with two layers of cedar, riveted together, then sheathed in canvas. We replaced the first layer with Atlantic white cedar planks; we opted to cold mold the next layer with two layers of cross diagonal 1/8" veneers of Spanish cedar set in West System epoxy. This method saved further undo stress on the already fragile frames, and in fact completely reinforced the entire super structure. They were sheathed with Dynel and West System epoxy, making a lasting non skid, water tight surface.

In May 2009, the CG36500 returned to her home waters at Rock Harbor, Orleans, but not for long. In June Pete Kennedy motored the CG36500 from Rock Harbor through the Cape Cod Canal towards Mystic, CT, where she was proudly on exhibit at the Wooden Boat Show.

The restoration won two prizes at the show:

  Concours d'Elegance 1st Place Owner Restored (Orleans Historical Society)

  Concours d'Elegance Judges Choice

Pleasant Bay Boat & Spar's Restoration of CG 36500 featured on the cover of Wooden Boat magazine. In January 2010, the story of the rescue and the restoration was the cover article in Wooden Boat Magazine.

Funding for this restoration project came from an Orleans Community Preservation Act grant, the Fred J. Brotherton Charitable Foundation and the Orleans Historical Society. Coxswain, Peter B. Kennedy oversaw the project administration and contributed valuable volunteer service.

2009 Restoration

Pleasant Bay Boat and Spar's extensive restoration project for the Orleans Historical Society continued into 2009. The 1946 motorized lifeboat, CG36500 was managed by Pete Kennedy and his crew of volunteers for OHS. Financial support was received from The Fred J. Brotherton Charitable Foundation, the Orleans Community Preservation Act, and individual donors

The last professionally managed restoration work was in 1996 at Pease Boat Works in Chatham. That phase included structural work from the keel up to the rails. Now it was time to tackle the turtle backs (cabins) cockpit soles and side decks.

The 36500 arrived at the shop in November 2008. The crew of volunteers began dismantling the bulkheads, floors, turtleback sheathing and side decks down to the frames, pulling out thousands of copper rivets and carefully preserving the integrity of the sub structure.

By the New Year, the crew of Pleasant Bay Boat and Spar were ready to take over. Frames were patched and plugged, then sealed with penetrating epoxy. New fir side decks were installed. The bulkheads were replaced with ¾" Okoume plywood. The cockpit sole needed to be reframed, and then replanked with new VG Doulas fir.

The turtlebacks proved to be the most interesting. The original cabins were double planked with two layers of cedar, riveted together, then sheathed in canvas. We replaced the first layer with Atlantic white cedar planks; we opted to cold mold the next layer with two layers of cross diagonal 1/8" veneers of Spanish cedar set in West System epoxy. This method saved further undo stress on the already fragile frames, and in fact completely reinforced the entire super structure. They were sheathed with Dynel and West System epoxy, making a lasting non skid, water tight surface.

In May 2009, the CG36500 returned to her home waters at Rock Harbor, Orleans, but not for long. In June Pete Kennedy motored the CG36500 from Rock Harbor through the Cape Cod Canal towards Mystic, CT, where she was proudly on exhibit at the Wooden Boat Show.

The restoration won two prizes at the show:

Concours d’Elegance 1st Place Owner Restored (Orleans Historical Society)
Concours d’Elegance Judges Choice

Pleasant Bay Boat & Spar's Restoration of CG 36500 featured on the cover of Wooden Boat magazine.In January 2010, the story of the rescue and the restoration was the cover article in Wooden Boat Magazine.

Funding for this restoration project came from an Orleans Community Preservation Act grant, the Fred J. Brotherton Charitable Foundation and the Orleans Historical Society. Coxswain, Peter B. Kennedy oversaw the project administration and contributed valuable volunteer service.

Questions regarding the history of the vessel, current location, ongoing exhibits and more:

contact the Orleans Historical Society at orleanshs@verizon.net

Questions regarding construction, maintenance and operations or about the restoration history:

contact Richard G. Ryder at rgryder@comcast.net.

508-240-1329

P.O. Box 353, 3 River Rd, Orleans, MA  02653 

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The Finest Hours 1952 Crewmen