Texas Maritime Museum

Sub Chasers Built in Rockport

Maritime History, WWII

Sub Chasers were built in Rockport, Texas

Did you know that several Sub Chasers were built in Rockport during World War II?

During the early months of World War II, Rockport’s Westergard-Rice Brothers and Co shipyard became a crucial player in the fight to protect Atlantic shipping from German U-Boats. They were one of 39 shipyards awarded contracts to build wooden hulled submarine chasers.

These vessels, officially known as SCs, measured 110 feet in length, displaced 95 tons, and could reach speeds of 12 knots.

The crew, consisting of 24 enlisted men and three officers, had limited training, typically lasting six weeks, before being deployed. The living conditions aboard these subchasers were extremely cramped.
President Franklin Roosevelt’s push for re-armament led to defense contracts, with each subchaser costing $325,000 to manufacture. The Rockport shipyard commenced its production, launching the first Navy vessel into Aransas Bay on July 4, 1941, just months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Most of the Rockport built sub chasers survived the war, but only a handful of the hundreds built nationwide are known to still be afloat and there are no known.surviving examples from the Rockport Shipyard.

Sub Chasers Info
Pictured, from our museum: USS SC498, the second sub chaser built by Westergard-Rice Brothers Shipyard in Rockport, undergoes a trial run in local waters. USS SC654 Jack, this Jack was flying from the vessel when it left the Westergard-Rice Brothers shipyard in Rockport in 1942.
Rockport Pilot Article noting the 10th Sub Chaser launched, from August 1942

nformation sourced from Texas Tales, Author Mike Cox and the Naval Marine Archive

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rockport, rockport tx, sub chasers, WWII

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