|The United States Coast Guard's smaller river and inland buoy tenders are probably the most unknown and
unrecognized part of the fleet. These tenders play an important role in maintaining safe waterways in U.S. rivers
and lakes. Like all Coast Guard vessels, these small tenders are capable of carrying out a multitude of tasks.
Primarily, they are designed to service the aids to navigation in inland waterways. In addition, the perform law
enforcement, environmental, icebreaking, and search and rescue operations. The latter duty is frequently carried
out during flood relief efforts.
The 115 foot USCG Tender Sumac (WLR-311) is one example of this fleet of inland vessels. The WLR
designation means she is a river tender. Sumac was built by Peterson & Haecker, Limited, in Blair, Nebraska.
Her keel was laid on March 13, 1944, was launched into the Missouri River on October 14, 1944 and
commissioned on November 1, 1944. Throughout her almost 54 year career, Sumac serviced aids to navigation,
conducted search and rescue and broke ice when needed on thousands of miles of the Ohio, Mississippi,
Kentucky, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers and their numerous tributaries. She was decommissioned on July 9,