Polar Sea

The Polar Sea is now in mothballed status. Information below is historical.

Coast Guard Cutter POLAR SEA (WAGB 11) is one of the world's most powerful, conventionally propelled icebreakers and is home-ported in Seattle. Built by Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company, POLAR SEA is designed to perform science, icebreaking, and all Coast Guard missions in both polar regions. With a reinforced hull and up to 75,000 horsepower, POLAR SEA can break up to 21 feet of ice, or 6 feet of ice at a continuous speed of 3 knots. Berthing is available for approximately 150 crew members, and as many as thirty-five scientists and technicians. POLAR SEA is equipped as a scientific platform with five internal laboratories and space for an additional seven portable laboratories on deck. Computers onboard have the capability to process real-time satellite images to aid in ice navigation, science planning, and weather forecasting.  

POLAR SEA is also a unique platform used to support the Coast Guard's other missions in the polar regions. The ship's icebreaking capabilities allow her to perform logistics, search and rescue, ship escort, environmental protection, and enforcement of laws and treaties in places most ships cannot reach.

POLAR SEA was commissioned in 1977, and has operated in the Arctic Ocean since 1979. The ship was first involved in a series of pioneering polar marine transportation studies off Alaska, and then conducted interdisciplinary science off the northeast coast of Greenland. During a science expedition, POLAR SEA and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship LOUIS S. ST-LAURENT made the first Pacific to Atlantic crossing of the Arctic Ocean; navigating through 2300 miles of Arctic ice. The expedition greatly contributed to knowledge of previously unexplored areas of the Arctic Ocean and the role the polar ocean plays in global environmental change.  

On February 5, 1994 POLAR SEA reached 78-29.9 South latitude, the southernmost point in Antarctica navigable by ship. On August 22 of the same year she was the first American surface ship to reach the North Pole.POLAR SEA has sailed all seven seas, crossed the Arctic Ocean, circumnavigated Antarctica, and visited ports in twenty-four foreign countries. As of spring 2010, POLAR SEA has made eighteen voyages to the Antarctic and twenty-two voyages to the Arctic. POLAR SEA has been awarded five Coast Guard Unit Commendations, five Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendations, the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the Canadian Coast Guard Commissioner's Commendation.  

Specs & Layouts

Learn about the Polar Sea's layout, general and machinery specs