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Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive

Saco (YT 31)
ex-Alex Brown (YT 31)
ex-Alex Brown (SP 2725)


  • Built in 1912 by A. C. Brown and Son, Tottenville, NY
  • Acquired by the Navy 30 September 1918
  • Commissioned USS Alex Brown (SP 2725), 11 October 1918
  • Reclassified as a Harbor Tug, YT-31, 17 July 1920
  • Renamed Saco 24 November 1920
  • Struck from the Navy Register 12 October 1926
  • Sold 2 May 1927 to N. Block and Co. of Norfolk, VA
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 119 t.
  • Length 90'
  • Beam 24' 9"
  • Draft 9'
  • Speed 8.5 kts.
  • Complement: Six
  • Propulsion: One single ended boiler, two 200hp vertical single expansion steam engines, two shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Tug Alex Brown
    Saco 133k Underway in port, circa 1912-1918
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 99174
    Robert Hurst
    USS Saco (YT 31)
    Saco 74k Tied up in port during the 1920s.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 43696
    Naval Historical Center

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships History: Alex Brown a wooden-hulled, twin-screw harbor tug completed in 1912 at Tottenville, Staten Island, N. Y., by A. C. Brown and Son--was acquired by the Navy on 30 September 1918 from the Aransas Dock and Channel Co., Port Aransas Tex.; designated SP-2725; and arrived at the Naval Station, Key West, Fla., on 11 October 1918, to serve in the 7th Naval District.

    Based at Key West, Alex Brown performed tug and tow duties through the armistice and into 1919. Highlighting her first year was the craft's towing the capsized wreck of the burnt out Santa Christina, which was first sighted on 9 July 1919 burning fiercely near Rebeccah Shoals (some 25 miles from Key West). Two subchasers--SC-104 and SC-320 removed the 34 passengers and crew from Santa Christina before she turned turtle. later that day Alex Brown, in company with SC-105 arrived on the scene to investigate. On the 12th, since the hulk was a menace to navigation, the tug pulled it from the main stream of shipping traffic to a rarely frequented area in Key West's upper harbor.

    On 17 July 1920, during the fleet-wide assignment of alphanumerical hull numbers, Alex Brown was classified as a harbor tug YT-31. That autumn an event occurred which resulted in the second highlight of her naval service. On 14 November 1920, the Standard Oil Company tanker SS Caloria grounded in a precarious position at the mouth of the harbor, endangering "life and property" in so doing. Since no other tug was available, Commander, Naval Station, Key West, ordered Alex Brown to help the tanker out of her predicament, and she carried out the mission with alacrity and skill.

    Ten days later, on 24 November 1920-in keeping with the Navy's policy of giving its built-for-the-purpose tugs Indian names Alex Brown was renamed Saco. She retained this name until she was struck from the Navy list on 12 October 1926. She was sold to N. Block and Co., of Norfolk, Va., on 2 May 1927.

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