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Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive

Breakwater (SP 681)

Call sign:
George - Sail - Mike - Watch


  • Built in 1907 at Milton, DE
  • Owned by the Lewes Fishing Company of Lewes, Delaware
  • Commission 12 May 1917 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard
  • Acquired by the Navy 18 May 1917
  • Decommissioned 8 September 1920 at Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone
  • Sold 8 April 1921
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 95 t.
  • Length 105'
  • Beam 24'
  • Draft 11'
  • Speed 10 kts.
  • Complement 25
  • Armament: Two 3-pounders
  • Propulsion: One single-ended boiler, one 270ihp compound steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Breakwater 146k Underway, circa 1918
    U.S. Navy photo NH 45280
    Naval Historical Center

    Commanding Officers
    01LTJG William Robert Billups, USNRF1918 - 1919
    Courtesy Joe Radigan and Wolfgang Hechler

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships:


    Breakwater--a wooden-hulled, single-screw trawler built in Milton, Del., in 1907--was acquired by the Navy from the Lewes Fishing Co., of Lewes, Del., in the spring of 1917 for service as a minesweeper; assigned the classification SP-681; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 12 May 1917.

    Attached to the 4th Naval District, Breakwater operated as a minesweeper, a tug, and a patrol vessel through the armistice in November 1918 and into the following summer. On 15 July 1919, Breakwater was assigned to Submarine Division 1 at Coco Solo, Canal Zone. That day, she received orders to assemble at Cape May with Mansfield & Son (SP-691) and Delaware (SP-467) at "the earliest practicable date and when ready proceed in company by Canal Zone to assigned stations."

    Although there is no record of her arrival, Breakwater reached her station and operated out of Coco Solo as a utility vessel with Division 1. Drydocked in the spring of 1920, Breakwater was found to be in poor shape, and a board of inspection and survey condemned her. She was placed out of commission at Coco Solo on 8 September 1920 and was sold to the Panama Construction Co. on 8 April 1921.

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