P-520: WWII & Korean War Crashboat

The P-520 is garnering interst from many organizations and individuals. Keep up with the latest news about the boat.

P520s last trip of the 2021 season ended in St.Michaels Maryland docked at the Chesapeake bay maritime museum in November. On the trip we had a gentleman join us who's father served aboard the crashboats during WW2 and Korea. It was an emotional trip as Charlie had grown up around these boats and remembered them fondly. Charlie despite fowl weather an rough seas remained on the fly bridge the entire trip. After 4 hours we arrived at the museum mostly without incident our generators fuel pump went bad which was promptly replaced. Once docked we were met by Charlie's wife. Who than had the crew follow to the car where Charlie showed us a model his father had built from memory of a crashboat he served aboard, we were also presented with a copy of the original manual for the 85 foot crashboats to keep aboard the 520. President Lewis Palmer asked Charlie if he would do an honor for the crew and sign our starboard engine supercharger in his father's name. This would be an emotional point on-board. After Charlie disembarked the crew would go on giving tours the entire weekend including a wedding that was taking place Saturday evening on the museum grounds. This would conclude P520s 2021 season before her repair haul out in early 2022. Charlie's father built this large model by hand an memory. It was right down to even having toilets an pipes running in correct areas.

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The P520 was pulled into dry dock for routine maintenance.

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Chesapeake Bay Magazine

An 85-foot wooden boat with a grim past will soon teach future generations on the Bay about the realities of World War II. The nation’s last operational, historically-correct airplane crash rescue boat is in Cambridge, at the same yard that first built these boats.


Chesapeake Bay Magazine


If you were out on the Chesapeake Bay this past Saturday—a brilliant-blue, cool spring day—you may have seen a piece of World War II history traveling from Curtis Bay to Cambridge. The P-520 is an 85-foot, wood-hulled U.S. Army Corps rescue boat used to recover downed pilots during the second World War, built in 1944.

The vessel is the last of its kind, and remarkably, it is fully operational in its original military configuration. Its presence on the Chesapeake is improbable considering the P-520 was restored in California and donated to the Louisville Naval Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, who moved her to West Palm Beach, Florida. The boat then made the trip from West Palm to the Chesapeake, arriving via the C&D Canal. P-520 runs on twin diesel engines, but still has the original Packard M4-2500 motors in storage.



CAMBRIDGE — The last remaining World War II crash rescue boat has made Cambridge its permanent home port, according to a recent statement from the organization dedicated to caring for and promoting the vessel.

The US Army Air Corps P-520 was designed to rescue downed aviators, and came to Cambridge for repairs at Yacht Maintenance in April.

"Cambridge just felt right for all of us considering the history of the town itself as well as the war effort, and building of P520s sisters," said the statement.

The 85-foot vessel was built in 1944 in California, but 14 boats of the same design were made during the war at the same facility where the boat is currently out of the water for repairs.


The P-520 hosted a number of WWII, Korea, and VietNam vets for an honor cruise on Memorial Day 2021. We would like to extend our thanks to Abby Isaacs for her great coverage of the event.

U.S.A.A.F. P-520
WWII & Korean War US Army Air Force Crashboat
Louisville Naval Museum Inc
PO Box 1183. Cambridge, MD 21613

100% of all donations made are used for the P-520. Our museum staff is unpaid and all proceeds to keep the P-520 operating. All donations are tax deductible as we are a 501c3. Donation letters are given upon request.