You are now on board one of the United State's two polar capable icebreakers. POLAR SEA and its sister ship, POLAR STAR, are the world's most powerful non-nuclear icebreakers, and the first con-structed for the United States since 1954. Built by Lockheed Shipbuild-ing and Construction Company of Seattle, Washington, the two power-ful icebreakers operate from the Seattle Coast Guard Support Center.
POLAR SEA has all the attributes of an outstanding polar ice-breaker: superior living accommodations, excellent hull design, power, strength and weight. Its design, which resulted from three years of research and testing, incorporates a number of improved and innovative features that affect nearly every aspect of its operation. POLAR SEA's highly sophisticated equipment includes five digital computers; one for satellite navigation; one for processing oceanographic data; one for monitoring the ship's machinery; one which operates a collision avoid-ance system; and one which is used to perform an array of administra-tive functions.
POLAR SEA's primary missions are scientific support in the arctic and antarctic and ice escort of shipping and logistics support for U.S. Governemnt interests in both polar regions. In addition to providing support to scientific stations, POLAR SEA is equipped to function as a major scientific platform. Five laboratories, offices, and sleeping quar-ters can support 20 scientists and technicians in a variety of programs. Along with its specialized missions, the POLAR SEA also is prepared to perform search and rescue and law enforcement.
In the Engineering Control Center computerized controls continu-ously scan and record the operating condition of engine room equip-ment. If a parameter is exceeded the system sounds an alarm and, if necessary, automatically shuts down the equipment before damage can occur.
A polar icebreaker must have a powerful main propulsion system. POLAR SEA's three shafts are turned by either a diesel-electric or gas turbine power plant. Each shaft is connected to a four-bladed, control-lable pitch propeller with a 16-foot diameter. Either the diesel-electric plant or the gas turbine mode of propulsion may be used, but not simultaneously on a shaft. The diesel-electric plant can produce 18,000 shaft horsepower and the gas turbine plant 75,000 shaft horsepower, making these icebreakers the world's most powerful conventionally-propelled icebreakers.
POLAR SEA has sufficient hull strength to absorb high-energy rams into the ice. The shell plating and associated internal support are structured from steel having a low-temperature strength. An icebelt reinforces the hull and is 1 3/4 inches thick in the bow and stern sections and 1 1/4 inches thick amidships. Although this plating may not seem very thick, its hull strength is dependent primarily upon the massive internal support structure. The plating itself is three times thicker than the plating employed in the hulls of Coast Guard High-Endurance class cutters.
The hull shape of POLAR SEA is designed to maximize icebreaking by effectively combining the forces of the ship' s forward motion and the downward pull of gravity. By moving forward onto ice the ship's bow is raised out of the water and the weight of the ship is brought to bear on the ice. As the ice is crushed it is pushed out and away from the hull. With a sturdy hull and power to back it up, the 13,000 ton POLAR SEA is designed to ram its way through ice up to 21 feet thick and to steam continuously through ice six feet thick at a speed of three knots.
Two Aerospatiale Dolphin (HH-65A) helicopters augment POLAR SEA during a polar deployment. Their duties include ice reconnais-sance, search and rescue operations, and logistics support. In addition, they are often used to ferry scientific personnel and materials over treacherous pack ice and glaciers to quickly and safely reach remote science stations. Although POLAR SEA's bright red hull is highly visible in the ice during clear weather, its advanced tracking and communications systems can guide the aircraft home during times of reduced visibility in fog, limited hours of daylight, and polar storms.
A relatively small crew of 140 men is made possible through auto-mation and extensive use of low-maintenance materials. Comfortable berthing for the crew is provided by two man, four man, and twelve man staterooms. Recreation facilities include four lounges, a library, an exercise room and a soda fountain. These features, all add to crew com-fort and morale during long deployments.
This pamphlet can provide you with only a basic sketch of the USCGCPOLAR SEA. While you are with us, feel free to askquestions. We are proud of the ship and will be pleased to tell you more about the Coast Guard's finest cutter.
Overall Length 399 ft 120.9m
Beam 83.5ft 25.8m
Draft 33.5ft 9.3m
Mast Height above keel 166.1 ft 51.1m
Height of Bridge above Waterline 55ft 16.8m
Height of Aloft Conn above Waterline 104 ft 31.7m
Fuel Capacity 1.3 million gallons
Displacement, Capacity Load 13,190 tons
Range (Maximum) 28,274 miles
Sustained Speed (Open Water) 17 knots
Estimated Icebreaking Capability
Continuous (Gas Turbine Mode) 6 Feet New Hard Ice
Continuous (Diesel-Electric Mode) 4 Feet New Hard Ice
Ramming (Gas Turbine Mode) 21 Feet New Hard Ice
Complement 14 Officers
Helicopter Detachment 4 Officers
Scientific Party 20
Scientists/Technicians , 20