September 13, 2018 – Maritime Museum of San Diego, home to one of the world’s finest collections of historic vessels, from sail to steam to submarine, is proud to announce that the PCF 816 (patrol craft fast) is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) and California Historical Resources. This honor includes PCF 816 Swift Boat in the official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation.
The notice of the National Register of Historic Places announcement was presented to Maritime Museum of San Diego by the Department of Parks and Recreation Office of Historic Preservation on July 27, 2018.
According to Kevin Sheehan, Ph. Dr, Manager of Collections and Librarian of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, “PCF 816 is a tangible reminder of the service and dedication of so many Swift Boat sailors and allows visitors the opportunity to better understand what they sacrificed.” The Swift Boat Sailors Association brought the PCF 816 Swift Boat to the Maritime Museum of San Diego to be restored and operated on San Diego Bay. Museum visitors now can experience the sound and throbbing vibration from two V12 diesels delivering 980 horsepower for high speed runs through the Bay while retired Swift Boat Sailors and docents 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.
The Navy first used them on coastal patrol as a part of Operation Market Time to interdict seaborne supplies on their way to the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army in South Vietnam. Later, the boats moved into the rivers and canals of the Mekong Delta and the Ca Mau peninsula to conduct special operations: gunfire support, troop insertion and evacuation, and raids into enemy territory. To the U.S. Navy, Swift Boats were weapons of war.
The Maritime Museum of San Diego now has four vessels of historic distinction on the National Register – PCF 816 Swift Boat, 1914 Pilot boat, the world’s oldest active sailing ship Star of India, and the 1898 steam ferry boat Berkeley – listed as National Historic Landmarks.