U.S. Presidential Yachts

1. River Queen

Served Grant and Lincoln, 1865-1866

River Queen

2. USS Despatch, 1873

Served Cleveland, 1880-1891

USS Despatch

3. USS Dolphin 1884

USS Dolphin 1884

Dolphin was the first Navy ship to fly the Flag of the President of the United States during President Chester A. Arthur's administration, and the second Navy ship to serve as a presidential yacht.

4. USS Sylph, 1890

USS Sylph at Norfolk Naval Shipyard c. 1905

USS Sylph (PY-5) was a steam yacht that served as a presidential yacht from the late 19th century through to the early 1920s. A converted yacht, she was purchased in June 1898 from her builder, the Delaware River Iron Shipbuilding and Engine Works, of Chester, Pennsylvania, and commissioned on 18 August 1898 at the Norfolk Navy Yard.

5. USS Mayflower, 1896

USS Mayflower

Mayflower—a luxurious steam yacht built in 1896 by J. and G. Thompson, Clydebank, Scotland for millionaire Ogden Goelet who died on board the Mayflower in August 1897.  After duty as a dispatch boat protecting American interests in Santo Domingo in 1906, Mayflower served as presidential yacht until 1929. One of Herbert Hoover's early acts as president was to dispense with Mayflower as an economy measure, saving upkeep costs of $300,000 per year.

6. USS Sequoia, 1925

USS Sequoia

sequoia sealUSS Sequoia is a former United States presidential yacht used from Herbert Hoover to Jimmy Carter, who had it sold in 1977. The ship was decommissioned under Roosevelt and lost its "USS" status at that time, but by popular convention is still often used.

The yacht is 104 feet (32 m) long, with a wooden hull, and was designed by John Trumpy Sr., a well-known shipbuilder. It includes a presidential stateroom, guest bedrooms, a galley and dining room, and was at one time retrofitted with an elevator for Franklin D. Roosevelt (Lyndon Johnson had it removed and replaced with a liquor bar).

The ship was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

7. USS Potomac, 1934

USS Potomac at Oakland, CA

USS Potomac (AG-25), formerly USCGC Electra, was Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidential yacht from 1936 until his death in 1945.

8. USS Williamsburg, 1930

USS Williamsburg

The USS Williamsburg  relieved Potomac as presidential yacht on 10 November 1945.

9. Honey Fitz, 1931

Honey Fitz

On June 23, 1945, Lenore became a tender for the USS Potomac. Retaining the yacht’s original name, Truman renamed the tender the yacht Lenore II and mainly used her as a tender for the Williamsburg.

Eisenhower decided the Williamsburg was “too rich for my blood,” and retired her, choosing instead the Lenore II, which he renamed Barbara Anne after one of his granddaughters.

The wooden yacht acquired a more public profile in the 1960’s during John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s presidency. JFK renamed her Honey Fitz, the nickname used by his maternal grandfather.

Johnson continued to use the yacht during his administration, mainly for dinner and cocktail parties.

By the time Nixon came to office, the Honey Fitz was a well-known yacht. Although Nixon renamed the yacht Patricia after his wife, the press and indeed everyone, continued to think of the yacht as Honey Fitz. Nixon sold Honey Fitz in 1970.

U.S. State Yachts

1. Washington State: Olympus, 1929

M/V Olympus (ex-Junaluska)

Launched as "Junaluska" in 1929, the yacht came west in the thirties and was used by the military in WWII.  Following the war she was acquired by the State of Washington and renamed Olympus.  She was ostensibly intended as a fisheries patrol vessel, but was actually used as a yacht by the governor, Mon Walgren.  After failing to win re-election in 1948, the state sold the yacht. 

Current location: New York