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U.S. Crash Boats

Additional Coast Guard Coverage

8/10/22 - The section covering U.S. Coast Guard 83 ft. cutters has been expanded. See the History of Crash Boats button on the left and go about 2/3 of the way down the long page. 230 Coast Guard 83 ft. cutters have been added to the Builders, Boats & Dates button on the left, all built by Wheeler Shipbuilding. Finally, in the Photos & Missions section there is an 83 ft. Album highlighting the significant differences between  USAAF and USCG 83 ft. crash boats. 


This is the website dedicated to the men and boats of the U. S. Army Air Force Emergency Rescue Boat Service and the U. S. Air Force Crash Boat Service, especially those who served in World War II and Korea. Whether you call them crash boats, AVRs, ASRs, 63' air-sea rescue boats, patrol rescue boats, or your favoriite is the 85' rescue boat, you're in the right place. While there is a lot of information  on crash boats available on the web, it is far from complete, sources conflict, and it is widely dispersed. The history of the service of the boats cannot be told without telling of the missions and memories of the men who crewed them. You will find many of their memories collected here. When clicking on the buttons or bars to the left, be sure to check for sub-menus, they lead to more detailed information!
While the focus of this site is on Army Air Force and U.S. Air Force air-sea rescue boats, relevant information from U.S. Navy sources is being added, especially information on their 63' boats. There are almost 100 of the 63' Navy boats listed on the "Bulders, Boats, & Dates" pages. The crash boats in the Navy were organized within Patrol and Reconnaissance Wings or Fleet Air Wings (FAW-1 through 19). About 230 U.S. Coast Guard 83ft boats have been added. While they were not focused on air-sea rescue work, they certainly did rescue work at sea and could be confused with the other military services' rescue work. I started collecting data because I wanted just a bit more information on my father's service in the Army Air Forces during World War II. When my son was growing up he once said, "Don't ask Dad what time it is; he'll tell you how to build a clock." After looking over this site, you will understand what he meant. 
I am especially anxious to locate the following:
  • 104 Ft. Rescue Boat Operator's Manual
  • Logbooks from Crash boats
  • Diaries of men while serving on crash boats
  • Good quality photos of crash boats and their bases
If you are able to loan any of the above, or other relevant material, please use the "CONTACT US" button to the left to extend your offer, or to make corrections to this site. As new information or features are added to this site you will see notice of it here. Please check back from time to time to check for additional information and photos.
While the AAF/USAF Crash Boat Association is still active, they no longer maintain a separate website but have chosen to sponsor this site. Due to the extensive contributions from its members of photos, manuals, information, and mission reports, this site has become their semi-official home on the web.
 In spite of the many hardships, for many of the men who served on these small boats, it was one of the most outstanding and rewarding periods of their lives. By now, most have passed from this life. I hope this site will keep their memory alive for at least a few years. Please feel free to copy any material on this website for your personal, non-commercial use.

P-520 Location

Note: This website is not affiliated with crash boat P-520.  Her home port currently is Crisfield, MD and she has cruised the Chesepeake throughout 2022.  P-520 is reported to have been hauled out in December for repair of hull damage from her trip on the yacht transport from California  in 2020. If you see her outside of the Chesepeake Bay area, please report her location to this website via the Contact Us button to the left. The same group that owns P-520 also is associated (owns?) with the sub USS Ling and they do not appear to have a permanent home for either vessel at the moment. I do not want to lose track of the last 85' rescue boat in military configuration.