Located about 100 nautical miles south of the Texas-Louisiana border are protected coral reefs of astounding natural beauty. These reefs are located atop salt domes rising from the seafloor known as banks. In the early 1900's fisherman used to see the amazing colors of this reef from the surface and named the area the Flower Gardens. This is how the northernmost living coral reefs of the United States became know as the Flower Garden Banks.

In 1992 these national treasures were designated a National Marine Sanctuary and the management of this protected area was given to NOAA's (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS). In 1996 a third topographical feature was added named Stetson Bank.

Due to the great distance from shore the management and research of this area requires the use of a research vessel. In 2001 Flower Garden Banks NMS acquired the CGC POINT GLASS from the US Coast Guard, a 82' patrol vessel with a history of service spanning decades. This vessel was configured to serve in a research capacity including the addition of a NITROX dive compressor system, dive step and ladders. The mission of the vessel is to provide dive support and many other scientific missions.

NOAA RlV POINT GLASS Fact Sheet

Builder: Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, MD

Commissioned: 29 August 1962

Length Over All: 82'10" Navigation

Draft: 5'11" max

Beam: 17'7" max

Displacement: 69 tons

Main Engines: 2- 3214 Caterpillar Diesel Engines

BHP: 1,900

Performance, Maximum Sustained: 18.0 knots, 542-mi radius Performance, Economic: 9.4 knots, 1 ,500-mi radius

Maximum Speed: 22.9 knots

Fuel Capacity: 2100 gallons

Complement: 10 people

Some History: The Point Glass was stationed at Tacoma, Washington, from 1962 to 1970. She was used for law enforcement and search and rescue operations. On 26 May 1965, she was damaged when the Canadian tug Marpole rammed her while she was moored at Tacoma. She was stationed at Gig Harbor, Washington, from 1971 to 1989. From 1990 on, she was stationed at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. On 17 June 1992 she was awarded the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation. As part of the 1998 Shell Air/Sea Show Task Force, the Point Glass was awarded the Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation. In 2001 ownership of the Point Glass was transferred to the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.