ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A new Coast Guard cutter, to be based in Sitka, is being christened and launched Saturday in Marinette, Wis. where it was built.
The 225-foot cutter Maple will be christened by Alaska Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer, a Wisconsin native.
The Maple will replace the 56-year-old cutter Woodrush. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Tom Barrett, Commander of the 17th Coast Guard District said it's difficult to retire venerable old buoy tenders such as the Woodrush, but he said the old vessels can't match the performance of the new ones.
''We get much improved capabilities with less people,'' Barrett said. ''This new technology will allow the Coast Guard to give better service to the people of Sitka and Southeast Alaska.''
It takes 57 people to run the Woodrush. The Maple will have a crew of 40.
The Maple is the second of four new buoy tenders being built to replace the Coast Guard's aging vessels in Alaska. The first, the Spar, was launched earlier this year and is based in Kodiak.
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