Arctic Scoout

What is The Current Status of The Glacier?

GLACIER is currently anchored in San Fransisco, CA at Suisan Bay on the Sacramento River. It is located near the town of Benicia, approximately 1-hour northeast of San Francisco. It can be seen from I-680, so next time you're nearby, give it a look.

If you are interested in volunteer work, please, fill out our online volunteer form and we will contact you with further information.

Click here for a list of photos of the crew in action


View The Glacier Restoration Log

UPDATED: April 27, 2009

RESTORATION LOG #55 - 9 April 2009

We encourage you to read the most recent publicationof the TOP OF THE WORLD TELEGRAPH by the Institute of the North, founded by former Gov. Walter J. Hickel of Alaska which contains relevant information about negotiations and events occuring in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

Be certain to read the first two articles - the first one of which references Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's hosting the Arctic-Antarctic Meeting, and the second article which addresses Alaska Congressman Don Young's call for more icebreakers.

Take a few moments to update yourself about ongoing efforts in Congress to bring American icebreakers to the Arctic.

The Board of Directors, members and volunteers of the Glacier Society extend to all our best wishes for a Happy Passover and Easter holiday.


Ben Koether

RESTORATION LOG #54 - 6 April 2009

The winter has been very active. Our volunteers and supporters have pitched in to bring our
Program along. Special thanks are due to Jim Atteridge of Furuno for the donation of an auto pilot for the Arctic Scout.

Arctic Scout is being prepared for spring operation by volunteers under the guidance of Jim Goodrich, Bob Grace and Jack Erhard. Special thanks go to the members and crew-Dale Greenwood, Kim Stevens, Thomas Little, Trey Lang and Bill Walker of Cedar Point Yacht Club for sponsoring the winter layover storage.

Arctic Scout will be in operation before the end of April. Remember, she is now in Westport, CT and is available for use on Long Island Sound and adjoining waters. Licensed captains may apply for qualification to sail the boat. She is available for daily charter when not in use by our Cadets. Consider taking your family for a cruise in this boat that has sailed in both the Antarctic and the Arctic with Navy and Coast Guard servicemen and scientists. This boat was fully restored to yacht finish by Pilot Point Marine in Westbrook, CT under the able leadership of Rives Potts. Glacier crew members assisting were Don Epperson and Joe DeFranco.

Bob Staehle of Kellogg Marine has continued their tremendous support by pouring dozens of items into the rebuild of the Arctic Gayle and Explorer, both of which are in Fort Lauderdale.

The Arctic Gayle participated in the Fort Lauderdale Winterfest Boat Parade. Our Cadets won a prize for their participation. The Cadets have a regular Drill Schedule operating the Arctic Gayle with the local USCG base. This requires the Cadets to sail from north of the Lauderdale Yacht Club, under the 17th Street Bridge and through the Port of Fort Lauderdale, the busiest port in the world, to reach the United States Coast Guard base.

Special thanks to Joe Purtell of Interlux Paint for his support! (Visit Arctic Gayle is sailing with two different bottom paints to test new formulas for the paints formulated by Akzo Nobel, the parent company for the Interlux Brand. John Crisci of 3K Diesel and his team have assisted our Cadets with diesel maintenance. Special thanks go to Commander Alan Starr and his Spruance Division Naval Sea Service Corp Team, Jorge Perez and Randy Bieszczak. The Spruance Division of the Sea Cadets under LCDR Starr now has 8 graduates going through the Naval Academy! And 3 at Massachusetts Maritime Academy! This is an outstanding accomplishment and the Glacier Society is pleased to participate and support this team.

We also thank the officers of both The Navy League of Fort Lauderdale (visit and the officers of the Broward County Navy League (visit and Broward Navy Days, (visit

Meanwhile the major refit of the Explorer is progressing. Both main engines, Detroit 8V92 turbos, have been totally rebuilt in frame. Many thanks for the significant support from MTU-Detroit Diesel, (visit They passed initial sea trial, but were unable to make a full power run due to other equipment causalities. We are going through the boat, space by space, to make her 100% new. This includes new interior layout, fresh paint, electrical fixtures, plumbing, electronics and safety equipment. When completed, she will berth up to 13 cadets and will be sailing to the Bahamas to train with the Bahamian Coast Guard. Gerald Roberts is our volunteer leader for the program. His day job is with the City of Fort Lauderdale as Parks, Recreation and Emergency Management Manager.

The restoration of the Glacier is moving as well. We have been very busy meeting with members of Congress under the leadership of Senator Joseph Lieberman who is Chairman of Homeland Defense. The meetings have been very positive. Clearly there is a new attitude in Washington on the need for deploying icebreakers in the Arctic. We plan to have Glacier underway as the pinnacle of our fleet of vessels, providing leadership training, scientific investigations and health care.


Ben Koether

RESTORATION LOG #53 - 27 January 2009

Fifty years ago we set sail aboard the Glacier headed for the Antarctic, Ross Hatch was the Operations Officer and I was the Navigator. Our cabins were adjacent to the Executive Officer, Matthew Winton. It is hard to believe that today we are working as hard as we did then to SAVE THE GLACIER.

In January 1960, we entered into the Bellingshausen Sea on a mission to chart the “Phantom Coast,” so named because it had evaded so many explorers for so long. US Navy personnel had tried for over four years, we were told, but we were given no details.

I can remember being on the bridge with my navigation team and the Captain and the Commodore, watching as we sailed off the paper charts into the unknown frozen sea and ice.

No one had a clue what lay under the confused surface of little open water, bergy bits, ice flows, pack ice, ice bergs, and hidden rocks! Not a good career move, one would think, for an Ensign to take the responsibility for navigating in uncharted waters with a task force of two ships, not knowing what lay ahead.

The story of our expeditions in 1960 and 1961 is too long to relate here, but suffice that we eventually crashed a helicopter and rescued the crew, marooned a shore party in a 125 KT blizzard and recovered them, sent another party to McNamara Island for three days to do a baseline survey (Ross Hatch was one) and charted well over 200 nautical miles of coast line, reefs, and islands. For a considerable period of time we were worried about getting out or having to winter over onboard. Obviously we managed to fight our way out. Successfully going where no one had been before for two years gives use confidence we can do it again.

Please obtain a copy of a recent book, “Where Hell Freezes Over” by David A. Kearns

This is the story of Bill Kearns flight and crash and survival on Thurston Island, the area we charted from the USS Glacier AGB-4 and the Arctic Scout. I met Bill at his home just before the book was written, but somehow I just got re-connected this Christmas.

Visit: and you will learn more about the plans to recover the bodies of the crew who did not survive the crash. The Glacier Society would like to sail down and help with the recovery operation.

We are hard at work planning to bring the Glacier to the Derecktor Shipyard in Bridgeport to prepare for this mission and possibly provide service to the US Coast Guard/National Science Foundation in the Arctic. We need all your prayers and any assistance you care to consider or offer in any way.

Thank you for your support!

Ben Koether

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Glacier Society
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