Anew era has begun for the Navy’s Coastal Riverine Force with the operational debut of the Navy’s new patrol boat, the Mark VI (MkVI
PB), which was deployed in March to the Persian Gulf.
Two MkVI boats were transported to Bahrain and two
more are scheduled to deploy to Guam.
From their base in Bahrain, the two MkVIs are operating under Commander, Task Force 56.
“The Mark VI Patrol Boat offers the Coastal Riverine
Forces a variety of mission sets, from coastal patrol to
mine countermeasures to theater security cooperation,
enabling operators to provide their critical security
know-how and force protection worldwide,” said
Cmdr. Raul Gandara, branch head, Coastal Riverine
and NECC Warfare Requirements, Navy Expeditionary
Combat Command (NECC).
“Two Mark VI Patrol Boats are scheduled to arrive in
Guam in late 2016 and will be assigned to Commander,
Task Force 75,” Gandara said.
The operational boats are, or will be, operated by
Coastal Riverine Squadrons Two and Four, based in
Virginia Beach, Va., and Coastal Riverine Squadron
Three, based in San Diego.
“Responsibility for manning and operating the boats
will rotate among the deploying squadrons,” Gandara said.
Crews of 12 Sailors are assigned to each patrol boat.
There are six watch stations on each boat: boat cap-
tain, engineer, coxswain, commu-
nicator, navigator and crew-served
So far, the Navy has ordered 12
MkVI patrol boats from the builder, SAFE Boats International in
Tacoma, Wash. Six boats have been
delivered to date, said Kevin Rowlee,
a spokesman for SAFE Boats.
The first batch of six boats was
ordered under a baseline contract
of $36.6 million, and the second
six were ordered under a follow-on
contract valued at $52.3 million, said Chris Rozicer,
assistant program manager in the Navy’s Program
Rowlee put the total value of the program to date at
$97 million. He declined to provide the approximate
price of a single boat.
As of March, four of the completed boats had been
delivered to NECC and two more are going through
integration of weapons and command, control, communications and computers, Gandara said.
The 12th and, so far, final MkVI is scheduled for
delivery by the third quarter of fiscal 2018, Rozicer said.
The MkVI is the Navy’s first true patrol boat, larger
than riverine craft, introduced since the mid-1980s.
The Navy operated a large number of small riverine
craft and Swift boats in Vietnam during the 1960s and
early 1970s. It also operated some Norwegian-built
Nasty-class patrol boats — similar in design to World
War II-era PT boats — in support of special operations
forces in Vietnam and later.
The MkVI traces its lineage to the MkIII and MkIV
patrol boats, but with significantly more capabilities
than its predecessors.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the Navy procured
three classes of patrol boats. The two 65-foot-long
Mark I PBs built in 1973 by Sewart Seacraft in Berwick,
La., were lightly armed and served in a special boat unit
Fast and Forward
The Navy’s new Mark VI patrol boat deploys to the Persian Gulf
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
Return to a Classic
The Navy’s first true patrol boat since 1999 makes its operational
n Two MkVI patrol boats have been deployed to the Persian Gulf.
n Two more are scheduled for Guam later this year.
n Upgrades include an unmanned underwater vehicle launch