USCGC Polar Star (WAGB-10) is a United States Coast Guard Heavy Icebreaker. Commissioned in 1976, the ship was built by Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company of Seattle, Washington along with her sister ship, Polar Sea (WAGB-11).
Homeported in Seattle, Polar Star and Polar Sea operate under the control of Pacific Area and coordinate their operations through the Ice Operations Section of the United States Coast Guard.
Polar Star is an outstanding Polar icebreaker with exceptional hull design, power, strength and weight. The design, which was the result of three years of research and testing, incorporates a number of innovative features that affect nearly every aspect of operations. Equipment on board is highly sophisticated. Polar Star uses four different methods of electronic navigation to overcome the difficulties of high-latitude operations, and a computerized propulsion control system to effectively manage six diesel-powered propulsion generators, three diesel-powered ship's service generators, three propulsion gas turbines, and other equipment vital to the smooth operation of the ship. The extensive use of automation and low maintenance materials have greatly reduced staffing requirements.
Polar Star has a variety of missions while operating in polar regions. During Antarctic deployments, the primary missions include breaking a channel through the sea ice to resupply the McMurdo Research Station in the Ross Sea. Resupply ships use the channel to bring food, fuel, and other goods to make it through another winter. In addition, to these duties, Polar Star also serves as a scientific research platform with five laboratories and accommodations for up to 20 scientists. The "J"-shaped cranes and work areas near the stern and port side of ship give scientists the capability to do at-sea studies in the fields of geology, vulcanology, oceanography, sea-ice physics and other disciplines.
Operations in the remote, hazardous and unforgiving polar regions make it necessary for the crew of Polar Star to be highly self sufficient. The crew consists of personnel trained in navigation, engineering, welding, machinery repair, electronics, boat handling, firefighting, damage control, diving, medicine, and nearly every other kind of special skill that could possibly be needed.