Only $15 for this exciting and educational Maritime Museum Swift Boat Tour. Ride the only active passenger carrying Swift Boat in the country. Feel the power of the twin 12 cylinder 2-stroke Detroit Diesels as you take a behind the scenes 75 minute narrated tour of San Diego's military history.
Weekends only 12:15, 2:15 pm
Swift Boat Veterans have assisted crew, guided visitors on tours, supported the ship maintenance staff, and generated funds to keep the PCF 816 Swift Boat in tip-top condition. They are a passionate force that can be counted on now just as they were in the past when Swift crews patrolled the waterways.
Tour route heads under Coronado Bay Bridge, Naval Base San Diego, and then Naval Amphibious Base. PCF 816 then heads back by the aircraft carrier basin and Naval Air Station North Island before returning to the Museum.
This narrated tour describes PCF 816’s role in the U.S., Malta, Viet Nam, Swift Boat sailors, and the above establishments on the Bay.
Unique to this experience are the retired Swift Boat Sailors and docents who talk about what it was like to be a crewman in Vietnam, serving as a Quartermaster, Gunner’s Mate, Engineman, Radarman, Bosun’s Mate or Skipper.
PCF 816, a Mark II vessel, was launched in 1968 and dedicated to crew training operations. In 1971, the Navy donated PCF 813 and PCF 816 to the Mediterranean island nation of Malta to form the Malta Maritime Squadron, a security, safety and law enforcement force.
Malta retired their two Swift Boats from service in 2011. PCF 816 was donated to the Swift Boat Sailors Association with the understanding that it would be restored and preserved, with maintenance and operation to be undertaken by the Maritime Museum of San Diego. PCF 816 returned to San Diego on 29th August 2012, not far from where she began service some 44 years earlier.
PCF 816 Swift Boat Background
During the Vietnam War, the United States Navy recognized the need for a new type of patrol vessel for water-based counterinsurgency operations. In August of 1965, two new boats identified as Patrol Craft Fast (PCF) were delivered to the Navy in San Diego for sea trials. Crew training was initiated at the U.S. Navy Amphibious Base in Coronado.
The Swift Boats had welded aluminum hulls about 50 feet long with a 13 foot beam, and draft of about five feet. They were powered by a pair of General Motors V12 marine diesel engines rated at 480 hp each, with a design range from 320 nautical miles at 21 knots to about 750 nautical miles at 10 knots. Because of the speed and agility of the boats they quickly became known as “Swift Boats”.
A total of 171 PCFs were produced in three slightly different models. About 110 PCFs served in Vietnam between 1969 and 1973.
Maritime Museum of San Diego
1492 N Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
Sep 2 - ongoing
12:15 PM - 4:00 PM
75-minute tours 2x/day. Weekends only. 12:15 and 2:15 pm. Also Labor Day Monday, September 6, 2021
Recurs every Sunday, Saturday
$15 with purchase of general admission.
Guests can board at Maritime Museum of San Diego, downtown San Diego waterfront, north embarcadero, Star of India wharf
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