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Current Price160000.00 USD
LocationFort Lauderdale , FL , US
Hull MaterialSteel
LOA65 ft
Beam18 ft
Engine ManufacturerCaterpillar Diesel
Engine ModelD342
Engine Count1
Engine Year1968
Fuel Capacity250 gallon






General Specs:

Asking Price:  $160,000.00 Negotiable

Builder: Higgins Shipyard (Andrew Higgins, Eldridge McInnis designer)

Build number: T-493

Year: 1954

Length: 65’

Beam: 18’

Draft: 5’-7’ depending on load

Engine: Single D342 Caterpillar Diesel, 220 HP @1300 RPM’s

Circa 1968 Installed in 2008, Rebuild in 2015

Generator: Northern Lights 20KW, new in 2008, 435 hours on since refresh

Bow Thruster: Wesmar Hydraulic Dual prop, DPC 25 counter rotating 12x12, 4 blades stainless, all refreshed and installed 2020.

Shaft: 3.5” SS Shaft, cutlass bearing replaced in 2015, shaft packing replaced 2021

Keel Cooler: Walter Keel coolers for main & generator refurbished 2021

Dry Exhaust for Main & generator

Gross Tons: 75, Displacement 90 tons

Fuel: 2 (500 gallon steel tanks) total 1000 Gallons

Range: 2000 NM’s at cruise

Water tank: 250 gals

Cruise Speed: 8 knots

Top Speed: 10 knots

Hull Material: Steel

Super structure: Steel

Hull plating: ¼

Steering: Hydraulic

Located: Pompano Beach FL

Currently out of the water, plans to Launch Dec 2021.


T-493 THUNDERBIRD HIGGINS EX US ARMY T BOAT, Built after WW2 for the Korean War to serve as a Pacific Ocean Inner Island Cargo ship. Heavy Capable Rugged Ship.  She never saw active service, 85 or so T boats were built out of steel for the conflict with only a handful put into active military service as the war was over before the ships were complete. One classic wooden T boat remains in commercial service in Maine, classic ship. THUNDERBIRD sat in a military depot out of the water in South Carolina, until she was purchased by the Sea Cadets in New Jersey, May 29 1973, where she served as the SES THUNDERBIRD for 20 years as a Sea cadet training ship. In the mid 90’s she was sold by the Sea Cadets and has since been a privately owned vessel by 4 owners, current owner is the 5th owner of her. Current owner purchased in 2017 on West coast of Florida in rough but serviceable condition, and has done extensive refit efforts to her hull, framing, bulkheads, and super structure, electrical, mechanical. Custom Fabrication of a swim platform

Foredeck mast with crows nest and boom to use as a cargo/ tender crane. (Foredeck mast will be installed in the water)

Paint Work:

Bottom was completely sand blasted when it was hauled in 2018, 2 coats of Sea Hawk paint applied (will need to be power washed to activate before going in water) All brand new Zincs installed and at 100%

House and decks were also completely sand blasted,  and painted. Entire Vessel Freshly painted professionally in 2021, all exterior areas completed.

To include the application of a Military grade Deck coating on all the decks, 2 coats of Navy G Heavy grade Epoxy Nonstick Coating.

All interior bilge spaces and hull plating entirely painted with military grade 2-part epoxy paint.

Main Engine repainted caterpillar Yellow Nov 2021

Steel Work/ Refit

Vessel surveyed & audio gauged in 2017. All areas with 20% wear as per coast guard allowance were cut out and replated, NO DOUBLE plates welded on. Hull plating under Laz cut out and replaced in 2012. 75% of the hull is new plate with most of that being done in the last 3 years by ABS, Coast guard certified welders, Engine room/ Cargo Hold bulkhead had considerable rust, all cut out and new ¼” plate welded in. Cargo Hold Frames Longitudinal cut out and replaced, areas by the shaft cut out and replaced with new ¼” plating. Bulkhead between engine room & Laz cut out and replaced. Major Hot work done right to keep this amazing vessel afloat for another 50 years, All receipts available to serious interest,. Hot Work done $65,000

-House raised 12” back in 2008 to give 7’ of headroom inside.

-Muir Anchor Windlass Hydraulic, both original 150 lbs Danforth anchors onboard, ½” anchor chain 400’ in great order.


New install Oct- Nov 2021

Completely new wiring currently being installed into all major areas, New custom made Blue Seas main breaker panel to feed all systems and wiring from Wheelhouse throughout the vessel. Brand new Victron 24V Inverter/ charger being installed, 4 brand new Lifeline Military grade 8D batteries being installed for the house batteries. Engine start batteries 24V new 2020, New Main engine battery charger ProNautic 24-20P installed 2020, Generator Start battery new 2021 battery charger new 2020. New Battery cables, New wires for all interior, exterior electrical installations, new wiring for all Navigational electronics and systems on board. Extensive proper wiring to ABYC standard.

Separate 12vDC service battery for navigation equipment onboard.

24vDC overhead Salon AC unit, only one onboard.

Navigation & Lights:

4’ Furuno Radar antenna, 36 NM Furuno radar  unit (circa 2018)

2 Garmin GPS, charter plotters (2017)

Simrad Depth sounder all new 2020, transducer custom welded hat to protect in the event of grounding.

Simrad Autopilot Old, but works perfectly so didn’t change.

2 Garmin VHF Radios.

1 Manual 18” Perko Search Light new 2020

All navigation lights operational

Leslie Supertyfon trumpet ships horn (LOUD)

All exterior deck lights vintage with new LED bulbs custom 2020

Deck spot lights New 2020

Mechanical & Engineering:

Main engine- 1968 Caterpillar D342 inline 6 cylinder, Natural aspirated Diesel, 220 HP, max 1300 RPMS, geared to a Twin Disc MG 514, 3.5:1 gear ratio, 3.5” Stainless steel shaft, with a 46” Diameter 3 blade wheel, 32 Pitch, Original propeller from 1954 in excellent condition.  Engine full serviced 2021.  Engine Keel cooled (No Saltwater sea pumps) Dry Exhaust out of stack on top

Generator, 20KW  Northern Lights 4 cylinder New 2008 with 435 hours since refresh, runs excellent, Provides hydraulic power off of PTO to Wesmar Bow thruster & anchor Windlass.  Full service 2021.

-All Hydraulic hoses replaced 2020

-Fuel tanks emptied, cleaned, New seals for tank access/ Baffles etc 2020

-All Fuel hoses replaced 2021

-Cooling hoses for keel coolers to engines all replaced 2021

-Cargo Hold area still open and unfinished, never finished, when she served as a cadet ship the cargo hold area housed 27 bunks for boys,

Storage shelving for supplies and parts on starboard side.

-Focsle stripped for refit efforts, separate head in this area unfinished, shower as well, no plumbing, no tankage. Bare bones, but completely prepared from refit, all steel work done, hull inside, bilge area professionally painted 2019/ 2020.

-Wheelhouse, operational with helm, manual hydraulic steering, refit in process of

wheelhouse with woodwork, navigation equipment and instruments etc.



No expense has been sparred in refitting this truly remarkable rugged little ship, she has been the jewel of the current owners eye and was intended to be used as an expedition adventure charter vessel, but the owner has decided to pursue another a route for his business. Owner is a professional yacht captain and understands the importance of doing things properly and took great pride in the refits of this T-boat. She is recognized and known well by the community of T boat owners and has a considerable history that is published regularly on social media platforms. The owner is a Steel boat enthusiast and has owned other large old steel boats, including currently owning a 82’ Ex USCG Cutter.

THUNDERBIRD is ready for someone to either convert her into an ultimate expedition live aboard/ yacht, or continue her into a platform for commercial use. She is in good condition overall but like any other 68 year old lady she needs regular love and maintenance to keep her shining and in ship shape order.

Survey available to serious interest, she will be afloat no later than January 2022. Currently in Shipyard in Pompano Beach while owner is out to sea working but refit efforts are continuing.

No hidden shipyard fees to be paid, vessel is owned free and clear and is FL state titled though could go back to USCG documented. She Does NOT have a Certificate of Inspection with her currently.

All Ship papers, blue prints, original specs, history all available and go with the ship as well as all spares tool and everything aboard, less the owners personal belongings.


The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.

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