In Honor of those who served. In remembrance of the shared Swift Boat history.
Take a 75 minute Swift Boat tour.
Feel the history & power of the twin 12 cylinder Detroit Diesels as you take a behind the scenes tour of San Diego's military history. Enjoy this unique one of a kind adventure aboard our historic Swift Boat, PCF-816. Be a part of history. Tours began Memorial Day 2014.
- Two tours daily: Saturday, Sunday.
- Check-in time ends: 10:30 am and 1:00 pm .
- Tour route heads under Coronado Bay Bridge, Naval Base San Diego, and then Naval Amphibious Base. It then heads back by the aircraft carrier basin and Naval Air Station North Island before returning to the Museum.
- This is a narrated tour describing PCF 816 's role in the U.S., Malta, Viet Nam, Swift Boat sailors, and the above establishments on the Bay.
- Tours are $12.00 per person, plus Maritime Museum of San Diego admission. Tickets are only available at the museum.
- Capacity is 25 guests per tour
A Swift Boat at the Maritime Museum of San Diego!
The U.S. Navy officially called them Patrol Craft Fast - PCFs for short, but the men who served on them during Vietnam have always known them as Swift Boat.
In 1971, the US Navy donated two Swift Boats to the newly formed Republic of Malta’s Maritime Squadron.
After forty years of coastguard duty, Malta retired these boats from service. In 2011, Malta's Minister of Defense donated a Swift Boat to the Maritime Museum of San Diego with our promise to preserve her history and to pay tribute to all Swift Boat Sailors from both countries.
The Swift Boat Sailors Association brought this Swift Boat to the Maritime Museum of San Diego to be restored and operated on San Diego Bay. Museum visitors will have the opportunity to experience the sound and throbbing vibration from two V12 diesels delivering 980 horsepower for high speed runs through the Bay while retired Swift Boat Sailors and docents talk about what it was like to be a crewman in Vietnam, serving as a Quartermaster, Gunner's Mate, Engineman, Radarman, Bosun's Mate or Skipper.
The Maritime Museum of San Diego in the news.
March, 2013 - From the UT and Channel 10News. Crunch time to restore Vietnam-era Swift Boat, and Sub thriller filmed at Maritime Museum - Click Here.
You can help with the continuing costs of restoration. Click the Donate Now button!
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The Navy first used them on coastal patrol as a part of Operation Market Time to interdict seaborne supplies on their way to the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army in South Vietnam. Later, the boats moved into the rivers and canals of the Mekong Delta and the Ca Mau peninsula to conduct special operations: gunfire support, troop insertion and evacuation, and raids into enemy territory. To the U.S. Navy, Swift Boats were weapons of war. For the officers who commanded them, Swift Boats were a chance at independent duty at a young age - most men were under twenty-five years old. For the sailors who crewed them, Swift Boats were an opportunity to abandon big-ship confusion and bureaucracy for a small combatant, where every man counted and where every man could trust his shipmates and befriend them like family.
Their performance was so successful that the North stopped trying. In 1968 Swift Boats became a part of the Brown Water Navy, joining PBRs (Patrol Boat River) and the Mobile Riverine Force, patrolling rivers and canals of the Mekong Delta. This was Admiral Zumwalt's successful interdiction strategy, called Operation Sea Lords, to disrupt the Viet Cong's mobility and to make villages safe for the South Vietnamese to return to their homes.
Approximately 3,500 men served as crew or as support personal from 1965 to 1973. Fifty Swift Boat Sailors made the ultimate sacrifice. Over 350 were wounded. The Maritime Squadron in Malta lost seven men in the line of duty. Swift Boat Sailors trained at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado and cruised the San Diego Bay in route to ocean trials. There is a beautiful Vietnam Memorial Monument on this base. A PBR, a Mobile Riverine Command vessel and a Swift Boat stand facing a wall adorned with flags and engraved with names of Navy and Coast Guard men who will never be forgotten.