A U.S. Coast Guard cutter that served in D-Day on June 6, 1944 is now docked in South Lake Union through Sunday.
The vessel, which rescued wounded soldiers in Normandy 75 years ago, nearly wound up in a scrap yard — until a Washington couple saved it.
The creaky, rusty boat is a shell of what it once was. Just the fact it is still around is remarkable.
“Once we discovered the history, we felt like we just had to do it,” said Kelly Thynes.
She and her fiancé Matt Levy found the USCG-11 boat last year on Craigslist for $100.
“We still shake our heads about that one,” Levy said on Thursday.
They laughed at first, but it was a serious bargain.
“What are we going to do with a boat that size?” Thynes wondered at the time. "And then, when we read the history, it was like, I was totally on board.”
The cutter, built in 1942, is the last existing USCG-11 boat to have survived the D-Day Normandy landings in 1944. It was used to pluck wounded soldiers out of the water.
“These guys, they said, saw a lot,” said Levy.
A Boeing engineer bought the USCG-11 at a surplus auction after the war. For years, it was used as a pleasure craft. But the boat fell into disrepair, and even sank at one point, Levy said.
Thynes and Levy, who live in Hobart, bought the boat last year after the former owner died.
“I look at it like a time machine almost,” Levy said.
Thynes and Levy started a non-profit foundation and are restoring the vessel to turn it into a living museum, which can travel to various destinations and educate people about WWII.
This is no weekend side project.
“It's huge, because right now about 90% of the restoration has come out of our own pockets,” Thynes said.
They say it can seem like a lot, until they look back on all the boat has been through. This was a deal they couldn't pass up.
This weekend, as nations honor the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the USCG-11 is docked in South Lake Union, outside MOHAI, through Sunday.
Visitors can step on board and take a free tour between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. The Museum of History & Industry is located at 860 Terry Ave. N.