Waterways Commerce Cutters

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Three variants of the US Coast Guard's new Waterways Commerce cutters.
Three variants of the US Coast Guard's new Waterways Commerce cutters.

The United States Coast Guard's Waterways Commerce Cutter program is an initiative to create a class of relatively small, relatively shallow draft vessels to replace its aging Inland Tender class.[1] The primary mission of the class will be the maintenance of aids to navigation in inland waterways. The Coast Guard currently maintains over 12,000 navigation buoys.

Other missions will include search and rescue and port security.[2]

The new WCC will support mixed gender crews, while the vessels they replace, largely don't. Even the Marine Protector cutters, the Coast Guard's smallest, support mixed gender crews.[3]

The Coast Guard announced it was moving from planning to acquisition in March 2021.[3]

The class will include approximately three dozen vessels, manufactured in three different variants, with common engine and living sections, and varying work areas in the bow.[4]


  1. "Doing Business with the U.S. Military: The Coast Guard Waterways Commerce Cutter Program". Workboat. Archived from the original on 2021-01-06. https://web.archive.org/web/20210106214901/https://www.workboat.com/resources/webinars/doing-business-with-the-u-s-military. Retrieved 2021-12-15. "The WCC program plans on releasing a request for proposal in 2021 to recapitalize its river buoy tenders (WLRs) and inland construction tenders (WLICs)." 
  2. Craig Hooper (2021-06-01). "Waterways Commerce Cutter: It's Time for an Upgrade". Marinelink. Archived from the original on 2021-11-12. https://web.archive.org/web/20211122173613/https://www.marinelink.com/news/waterways-commerce-cutter-time-upgrade-488098. Retrieved 2021-12-15. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "USCG issues waterways commerce cutter RFP". Marine Log. 2021-05-10. Archived from the original on 2021-12-16. https://web.archive.org/web/20211216023827/https://www.marinelog.com/news/uscg-issues-waterways-commerce-cutter-rfp/. Retrieved 2021-12-15. "On March 24, the DHS Acquisition Review Board approved the WCC program to proceed from the analyze/select phase to the obtain phase. This achievement was the culmination of several years of design analysis, industry engagement, operator input, scale-model testing and other analyses that provided valuable information on requirements, design and production schedules." 
  4. "Coast Guard Waterways Commerce Cutter (WCC) Program: Background and Issues for Congress". Congressional Research Service. 2021-10-19. Archived from the original on 2021-12-16. https://web.archive.org/web/20211216044037/https://sgp.fas.org/crs/weapons/IF11672.pdf. Retrieved 2021-12-15. "All three variants will be monohull ships, meaning self-propelled cutters instead of tug and barge configurations. The river buoy tender and inland construction tender variants will be acquired on one contract; these variants are expected to be common except for hull length, working deck layouts, and deck equipment, including the crane."