Thursday, October 20, 2011

Camillus Marlinspike Knife, USCG 1984

Today I'll be showing off my old United States Coast Guard, Camillus marlinspike knife.  I have carried this knife since I was first issued it, in 1984, while stationed at Motor Lifeboat Station, USCG Station Grays Harbor.

In my  USCG "Dress Blues", Seaman E-3

Station Grays Harbor was my first unit after I got out of Boot Camp in Cape May, New Jersey.  It was not long after I arrived, that I was issued this knife.  I have carried and used it ever since.  I made the belt sheath myself using a piece of scrap leather from the station's "Bosun's Hole", (The shop used by the deck rates for boat maintenance).  I fashioned a leather punch out of an old nail and designed and did the leather work myself.  I pounded in my "3-Stripe" Seaman's uniform patch, USCG, a Bosun's Pipe and a ring of rope..........  I wove the plaited sennit lanyard out of a piece of parachute cord from our line throwing gun.  I later added the halyard clip off of one of the lifeboats and a retaining cord.  Quite the piece of nautical folk art if I do say so myself!

There is an interesting story about how we ended up with these knives.....................  The Boatswains Mate in charge of the Survival Shop, placed an order for these Camillus knives to issue out to the crew.  The Commanding Officer of the station denied the order request saying that we did not need to spend the money out of our budget on "extras" like this.  Being a good "Bosun's Mate", the survival-man did not take "No" for an answer.  He waited a few weeks and then placed an order for "Putty Knives", and used the stock number for the marlinspike knives!  As any good sailor in the Coast Guard knows, the orders are filled solely off of the stock number that is listed on the requisition, and not off of the item description.  The Commanding Officer signed the order request and it was sent off............. When the "Putty Knives" arrived, the survival-man passed the word and we all dropped by his shop for our new marlinspike knife, and the CO was none the wiser!

I use this knife for all of my line work and splicing, and carry it proudly on my belt while I'm out on my old boat, the Bernadine.  It is a useful reminder of my first days as a deck sailor on the old motor lifeboats..........

M/V Bernadine   1931 Schertzer Boat Company, 38 feet

Here are a few more photos of this wonderful knife:

Since we're reminiscing about my old motor lifeboat days.......... Here is a picture of my lifeboat survival gear I used while out on the 44 footers and the 52 foot Invincible.  The suit is a Mustang brand flotation-survival work suit.  The helmet is a fiberglass "motorcycle style" helmet.  We wore our work uniforms under the Mustang suit.  The large green bag on top of the locker is a parachute bag that we carried all of our gear in.  The photo was taken in one of the duty rooms at the station.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

My brother in law was CG. This is a well loved knife, your pride shows. Amazing and simple.