Key West Maritime Historical Society Collection of Marine Paintings
U.S.S. SEA GULL
Built as the river steamer ENTERPRISE and launched in 1818, this early steam ship was purchased by the Navy in 1822 for use as a shallow draft vessel operating against pirates along the coast of Cuba and the Florida Keys. Renamed SEA GULL, she was the first steam powered warship to see active service in the U.S. Navy. Sailors at the time did not trust the new fangled “stink pots” which often broke down, and would not go to sea until SEA GULL was rigged with masts sails. After fitting out with five cannon, SEA GULL proceeded to Santo Domingo to join Commodore David Porters West Indies Squadron and became his flagship. Porter would cruise along the Keys and shallow bays where pirates would hide. He towed large boats behind the little SEA GULL until a suspicious vessel was observed, then sent out several boat loads of armed men to investigate. In this manner Porter cleared out the pirates and made the area safe for commerce and settlement.
SEA GULL was found unfit for further sea duty in 1825, but continued in service as a receiving ship in Philadelphia until sold in 1840. display at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.
Fine-art giclee print is available - email the artist for pricing.