Whither The Presidential Yacht?

October 20, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Oliver Sharpe wrote about the Presidential Yacht:

  • Before the era of jumbo jets and Air Force One, ocean ships were mobile White Houses symbolizing the prestige of the office.
  • Unlike a trip to Camp David or Florida – which requires advanced planning and logistics, Presidents could easily ask to spend a quiet day of reflection in privacy on their boat.
  • Various ships have been commissioned to carry the President since 1880. In 1933 the USS Sequoia become the official Yacht of the President of the United States, and faithfully served eight of them.
  • During World War Two diplomacy was conducted on the boat. Roosevelt would officially decommission the ship whenever Churchill came onboard since he refused to drink on a Navy vessel, but needed “Churchill Martinis”.
  • Each President modified the yacht. Wheelchair bound Roosevelt installed a lift. LBJ lowered the floor of the shower so it’d fit his lumbering frame. JFK installed a King sized bed, and is said to have entertained Marilyn Monroe on it.
  • Nixon was an avid user of the craft and racked up 88 trips. He made his decision to resign while on the yacht and announced it to his family on its deck.
  • The yacht cost $800,000 a year to maintain and when Carter entered office, elected on a platform of bringing an end to the Imperial Presidency, he had the boat auctioned.
  • It was bought for just $236,000 – a sweet deal since its prestige meant that rental fees of $10,000 a day would go on to become the market rate.
  • But a legal dispute meant that it was taken out of the water. It sits in a boatyard today and is infested with racoons.
  • A Judge approved its sale for $0 by a consortium willing to pay millions to restore the yacht. The group is open to making it available to American Presidents once again.

Read more, and see some incredible pictures on Town & Country.