Hollyhock Crew Says Thanks with Friends and Family Cruise
Photos by Neil Schultheiss & Roger LeLievre

Around 75 passengers boarded the new, Port Huron-based USCG cutter Hollyhock (WLB 214) Saturday afternoon for a two-hour cruise down the St. Clair River. The visitors were family of Hollyhock officers and crewmembers, plus invited guests.

The trip was a thank you gesture from the Hollyhock in return for the warm welcome Port Huron gave the new vessel when she made port for the first time Nov. 8. In greeting the guests, Lt. Cmdr. Michael T. McBrady, the Hollyhock's captain, thanked the wives and families of Hollyhock personnel for their patience while crewmembers were gone for several months this past summer training for their new assignment.

There was an air of joy and pride as the crew showed family and friends first hand what they do on the new cutter. Passengers toured the vessel and enjoyed hot dogs, hamburgers and muffins in the mess hall.

The $29 million cutter was built at Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette, Wisc. Launched Jan. 25. 2003, she underwent fit-out and sea trials before officially taking up station at Port Huron, replacing the World War II-vintage tender Bramble. The cruise took the Hollyhock past the Bramble, now a museum ship at Port Huron. Many of Hollyhock's crew previously served on the Bramble before joining their new vessel.

Hollyhock is the 14th Juniper Class Seagoing Buoy Tender built out of a projected 16 of this class. She is 225 feet long, displaces 2,000 long tons, and is powered by two diesel engines which power a single controllable pitch propeller. Hollyhock is also equipped with bow and stern thrusters, in addition to a 20-ton hydraulic, 60-foot telescoping beam Appleton crane. She carries a crew of eight officers and 42 enlisted personnel.

Hollyhock's primary missions are aids-to-navigation (maintenance, removal and replacement), search and rescue, environmental protection and ice-breaking.

The Hollyhock's Dynamic Positioning System, which allows a computer to take control of the engines, rudder, propeller and thrusters, can hold the ship within a 10-meter circle in winds up to 30 knots and eight-foot seas, which allows pinpoint positioning of buoys. The vessel is responsible for nearly 150 aids-to-navigation on the lower Great Lakes.


Hollyhock arrives in Port Huron after spending the week on Lake Erie.

Line thrown ashore.

Tying up.

Directed from the bridge.

Family and friends board.


Lt. Cmdr. McBrady (captain of the Hollyhock) thanks family and friends for their support as the new cutter was brought into service.

Reviewing safety procedures.

Departing the dock for a cruise down river.

Executive officer spins the nimble Hollyhock to face down river.

There was a feeling of joy and pride aboard the ship as family members looked on.

Controls are duplicated at each bridge wing.

Hoisting the colors.

Flags flying.


No wheel to steer the Hollyhock.

Roomy bridge is outfitted with the latest electronics.

Windows and a dry erase marker make great note boards.

Chart room is set back from the main bridge.

Cruising downbound.

20 Ton Hydraulic 60 foot telescoping beam Appleton Crane.

Crane controls

Massive winch used to haul chain and buoy anchors out.

Crewmember stands watch at the bow.

Anchor windless.

Aft we find a towing bit.

Flags flying.

Interior spaces on the Hollyhock are roomy and comfortable.

Including crewmember's rooms.

A cookout theme dinner is prepared in the galley.

Roomy galley.

Main engines from above.

Engineering Officer Derrick Johnson (Chief engineer) explains the control systems.

ieutenant (JG) Ryan Barone leads our tour. Most functions can be controlled from a keyboard.

The two main engines are Caterpillar 3608, producing 3,100 Brake Horse Power each.

The Hollyhock's two engines run through reduction gears and the power is combined to a single shaft turning a 10-foot Bird Johnson Controllable Pitch Propeller

Electric power is provided by 2 Caterpillar 3508, 450 kilowatts generators

Desalinization plant.


Hold doors to buoy deck are hydraulically operated.

Grappling hook used to recover chain or anything else on the bottom.

Cavernous hold for oil recovery and environmental protection equipment.

Dinner is served.

Another view.

Mess Deck.

Ward Room

Access to the bow thruster room.

Electric bow thruster. Hollyhock is equipped with bow and stern thrusters which provide 460 and 550 Horsepower respectively.

Fire fighting foam generator.

Our cruise continues.


Another view

Family members of all ages enjoy the cruise.

Passing the Bramble. Hollyhock replaced the Bramble which is now a museum ship in Port Huron.

Setting sun peeks out from under the clouds.

View off the stack.

Family and friends enjoy the scenery.


Canadian Olympic meets us downbound.

Cuyahoga across the river at Sarnia's Government Dock.

Approaching the dock in Port Huron

Approaching the dock.

Crewmembers explain their job first hand to family members and friends.

Crewmember's hats read "Plankowner" signifying  they are the first crew to serve aboard the new cutter.

Lieutenant (JG) Barone takes his turn docking the Hollyhock.

Tied up for the night.

View on deck.

Buoys on the dock.

Stern view at her home mooring.

The Museum Lightship Huron a short distance from the Hollyhock's dock.
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My thanks to Lieutenant (JG) Ryan Barone and the crew of the Hollyhock for making this look inside possible.

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