Class: Potomac Presidential Yacht
Launched: June 30, 1934
At: Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Commissioned: March 2, 1936
Length: 165 feet
Beam: 23 feet, 9 inches
Draft: 8 feet, 1 inch
Displacement: 416 tons
540 Water Street
P.O. Box 2064
Oakland, CA 94604-2064
(510) 627-1215 (Monday – Friday)
(510) 627-1502 (24-hour info line)
Fax: (510) 839-4729
Latitude: 37.795262721, Longitude: -122.280017706
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Completed in October 1934 as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Electra, the ship was taken over by the Navy in November 1935, and renamed USS Potomac in January 1936. She served as President Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential yacht from 1936 to the time of his death in April 1945. President Roosevelt spent many delightful hours on her decks cruising the Potomac River near Washington. He cruised nearly 50 times per year in the years preceding World War II. The ship provided a welcome escape from the enormous pressures of public life.
Potomac also made occasional cruises to Florida and the Bahamas with the President and first lady on board. She transported the President to Cape Cod, where he boarded the cruiser USS Augusta (CA-31) for the conference with Prime Minister Churchill formulating the Atlantic Charter. The Potomac carried FDR to board the battleship USS Iowa (BB-61) for travel to the Tehran Conference. FDR visited the Bay Area several times and his ship is now permanently berthed at the foot of Clay Street in the Port of Oakland’s Jack London Square.
The beautifully restored Potomac is an active testament to the man who led America out of the Great Depression and through World War II. Now, more than 60 years after his death, the spirit of FDR can still be felt on board. The ship is the central artifact of the Potomac Association’s museum and memorial that is dedicated to remembering Roosevelt and his era. Guided dockside tours are available every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday; and two-hour history cruises tour the Bay eight times each month from mid-March through mid-November.