Home » News & Analysis » Mark VI Patrol Boats Sail 500 Nautical Miles in Record Transit

Mark VI Patrol Boats Sail 500 Nautical Miles in Record Transit

Sailors assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron 3, Detachment Guam, conduct a 500 nautical mile transit aboard a Mark VI patrol boat assigned to Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1, Detachment Guam. Navy photo

Two Navy Mark VI Patrol Boats recently completed a 500 nautical mile transit from Guam, showing Navy planners in the region that the boats could reach nearby island groups to conduct maritime security patrols and disaster relief efforts.

The Mark VI Patrol Boats are intended to be used to patrol littoral areas outside sheltered harbors and bays, providing security force assistance, shipping escort, and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations. The long-range transit was within the manufacturer’s stated range of 600 nautical miles, but the boats had never been pushed that hard in the Pacific Ocean. The recent transit was the longest trip ever attempted by a Mark VI Patrol Boat in the Pacific, according to the Navy.

“It’s incredibly valuable to test the endurance of these boats, which will give the crews and leadership confidence in the platform and thereby expanding the operational reach of MK VI to our close and valued partners in the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau,” Lt. Cmdr. Greg Dusetzina, the officer in charge of Coastal Riverine Squadron 3, said in a statement.

The Micronesian island of Yap is about 456 nautical miles from Guam, according to the DistanceFromTo mapping tool. The Navy now knows it can use Mark VI Patrol Boats to bring personnel and supplies to Yap without requiring a larger vessel to accompany them on the trip.

During the long-distance transit, the Mark VI boats maintained an average speed of 25 knots with what the Navy said were “well-kept conditions for the crew.”

In October, the Navy dispatched Mark VI boats from Guam as part of relief efforts to Tinian and Saipan after the category 5 Typhoon Yutu tore through the Northern Mariana Islands. The Mark VI boats traveled about 100 nautical miles to deliver supplies, equipment and personnel to the islands, according to the Navy.

The Mark VI is powered by two MTU 16V2000 M94 diesel engines and two Hamilton HM651 water jets, with a listed range of 600 nautical miles. A typical crew includes five operators and a team of about eight search and seizure personnel, according to the service.

  • ChrisLongski

    We should have those boats doing local security already…

    • USNVO

      What do you think they are doing in Guam?

  • Kypros


  • Curtis Conway

    What was the Mk of that boat again ?
    “…The Navy now knows it can use Mark IV Patrol Boats…”.
    “…Two Navy Mark IV Patrol Boats recently completed a 500 nautical mile transit…”.
    “…The recent transit was the longest trip ever attempted by a Mark IV Patrol Boat in the Pacific…”.
    “…The Navy now knows it can use Mark IV Patrol Boats to bring personnel and supplies to Yap…”.

    • DaSaint

      Nobody proofs these articles. Journalism isn’t what it used to be. Where’s the editor? Oh, wait, not in the internet age.

    • Secundius

      I suspect it’s a Typo! “The National Interest” has a similar story about the Relief Mission, and their listed as Mk.VI Patrol Boats…

      • publius_maximus_III

        They don’t teach Roman numerals anymore, just like cursive writing and analog clock reading…

      • Donald Carey


  • Impressive but I think the USN should have gotten the FRC from the USCG.

    • The FRC is not really comparable to the Mk VI, but it might be worth looking into as a Cyclone replacement. The possible issues I see are the lower speed (28 knots vs 35 knots) and much lighter armament (just one 25mm). There is also the question of whether the Navy really needs to be operating patrol boats when the Coast Guard is already doing so.

      • RobM1981

        You went there before I did. Precisely. VBSS is a Coast Guard mission and they have several great platforms to accomplish it.

        This is a waste of tax dollars.

  • Ed L

    Yap island has a 6,000 foot runway and a small harbor. Sailing friends say it’s a nice place to visit. Not much in the way of heavy harbor support. But there was a decent diesel mechanic there. I curious I wonder how much a pair of torpedo tubes MK 54 would slow down a MK-VI patrol boat

    • Secundius

      Why!/? You could also Rail Mount eight “Hellfire’s”, that would take up less room…

    • muzzleloader

      I spent a day on Yap in 1976 during a resupply flight to a Coast Gaurd LORAN station that was there at the time. The island is three miles long.
      Aside from the CG base there was nothing.
      Next to the runway there were three Japanese Zero fighters, two of them still on their landing gear.
      I have pictures of them. It was amazing.
      Yap has been transformed into a popular dive destination with first rate accommodation.

      • Ed L

        Turn them into PT boats to attack AIS submarines in shallow waters.

        • gonavy81

          Using what sensors?

          • Ed L

            why a DDG corrdinating with ASW Helo’s

  • tom dolan

    I think this report is premature. Let’s see these boats complete a transit back to their home base at Guam after a protracted operational detachment before we declare this a reasonable capability for this type of vessel. I tend to think that unsupported by some kind of tender they’d soon have their combat effectivness degrade.

  • publius_maximus_III

    Damn, that’s a looong haul. Would not recommend trying that in heavy seas though.

    • Pro_spark

      Yeah, boats miles/gallon varies dramatically with speed and can be less than 30% of peak between the hull speed and optimal plane speed. They could have easily gotten stuck at 7 or 8 knots hull speed if the waves kicked up a bit.

      • Duane

        The Mark VI patrol is a pretty good sized boat at 85 ft LOA and a 20 foot beam and 72 tons … not exactly a little center console sport fishing boat. They should be able to handle up to maybe six foot seas and remain on plane, albeit with a very bumpy ride … but of course point remains that the the bigger the waves the less the fuel efficiency.

    • Ed L

      With prevailing winds a sailboat could do that distance in 4 days.

      • publius_maximus_III

        In my younger days I participated in three “bare boat charters” on sailboats of various sizes, two in the Bahamas and one in the British Virgin Islands. Great way to travel. One time on our way back across the Straits of Florida we encountered 5-8 foot seas. Not a happy time aboard a 33-ft sloop. But we had no choice, time was up.

  • William Blankinship

    That would have been a fun trip to have been on. I would like to see Roman numeral done away with. They are so first century 🙂

  • PolicyWonk

    …”“It’s incredibly valuable to test the endurance of these boats, which will give the crews and leadership confidence in the platform…”
    Usually, however, its better to test endurance in a controlled environment before purchasing, as opposed doing so in the open Pacific…

  • Western

    Deserving even more congratulatory handclapping are the navigators on board the little boats, who apparently studied enough to not repeat the performance of the lost riverine patrol in Iran. Bravo Zulu.

    • gonavy81

      Comparing a Ferrari to a Mustang.

    • Duane

      That fiasco was not so much a matter of the two-boat mission getting “lost” as one boat became disabled, and while the other boat was in the process of working with the disabled boat, the CO got distracted and lost track of their position. Any idiot can read a GPS plotter … and apparently any idiot can also forget to look at it.

  • old guy

    The boats, though they have nice pointy fronts and square backs, in NO WAY, can compete with Hydrofoils of the same displacement. Ask any PHM jockey how they flew rings around anything operating in Navy, at that time. “Tradition” has held back the Navy incessantly. If we really intend to counter :Swarm” boats. which I have been raising the alarm for 40 years, when the Russkies first gave Komar and Osa boats to Iran, we had better let some sludge Admirals, SAIL away or STEAM off, and give some innovators some real clout.

    • USNVO

      Thats funny, the “Russkies” never gave Komar or Osa boats to Iran.

      The Iranians have some French built La Combattante missile boats, originally with Harpoon Missiles but now with Chinese ASCM, They also have some Chinese built versions of the OSA, but they bought those in the mid-1990s and the “Russkies” had nothing to do with them.

      • old guy

        I suggest that you review Navy War College reports on the subject, of about 1980. I was in a war game at that time, incidentally, with a new congressman named Newt Gingrich as the NCA. The script of the game had the Iranian order of battle with 35 Komar and 30 Osa boats. I believe that the report of the game is unclassified.
        It was, at that time that I decided that they were resuscitating the 1813 Barbary Pirates, successful, “Swarm” technique. It is possible that the OOB was not accurate, but it usually was.

        • USNVO

          So a made up scenario from a NWC wargame in 1980, a scenario that failed to materialize, trumps reality? I would suggest you look at any recent history of the Iranian Navy if you want to see reality.

          Sorry your “Hundred Knot Navy” never materialized but it was doomed to failure from the start. Whether is is SES, Hovercraft, Hydrofoil, or High Speed Planing Hull, they all are predicated on lifting the ship out of the water and as such suffer, to varying degrees of pain but the hydrofoil has the most, from the inherent problem that although the weight of a ship increases with its cube, the lifting force of dynamic lift increases with its square. As a result, they have to be built like aircraft, cost a fortune, have limited payload, and when operating at high speed have virtually no range.

          While the PHM may have been a great coastal defense asset, it was pretty much worthless as the one mission the US Navy hasn’t done since WWI or so is coastal defense. The PHMs were OK for countering the Cuban Navy and chasing drug runners, but as the first Gulf War proved, an armed helicopter is far more effective at countering other FACs (which is what the USN wanted in the first place), even one that can waste prodigious amounts of gas going 50+kts.

    • Duane

      Hydrofoils work fine if not taking any damage, as in typical civilian use … but a single burst or two by even relatively small arms (a 50 cal or a 20-25mm chain gun) can literally knock the hydrofoil off the vessel, or damage it such that the boat can no longer run anywhere near as fast as a monohull or catamaran hull, possibly reduced to just running in circles.

      These naval patrols are craft designed to take damage and continue to operate in a shootout with the bad guys.

      Note that the world’s largest operator of small swarming attack watercraft – Iran – uses conventional mono planing hulls for all or nearly all of their armed craft.