unidentified White hulled vessel, possibly in Boston area in the 1940s.The harbor tug is named IWANA and it was in service in Boston up until 1942. What is the name of the mystery white vessel?

Unidentified White hulled vessel, possibly in the Boston area in the 1940s. The harbor tug is named IWANA and it was in service in Boston up until 1942. What is the name of the mystery white vessel? I’m curious if it possible it was a naval training vessel or a USCG revenue cutter. There are sailors on board with white uniforms and it is an American flagged vessel.

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    Yes, those buildings in the background are in South Boston. Jun 11, 2022 at 10:39
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    Looks like the Mayflower ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Mayflower_(PY-1) ) to me. For: the shape of the deck, the placement of the portholes. Against: most photos of the Mayflower show gaffs on the masts, and your pic does not. But contra-against: google images of the Mayflower show many photos without. Jun 11, 2022 at 13:18
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    Thank you very much for these very interesting new leads. After reviewing the photos on Wikipedia, I also agree that this is the vessel USS Mayflower. The painted name on the stern also matches the amount of letters required to spell “Mayflower”. I had initially thought the name may have started with the letter “M”. Thank you very much for helping to solve the identity of this mystery ship. She has had quite some interesting historical figures onboard during its time as the presidential yacht.
    – Dave Mose
    Jun 11, 2022 at 14:42
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    It would appear that at least portions of the USMC band are aboard. In the vicinity of the aft awning, when you blow-up the photo, you can make out instruments and Marine chevrons and visored caps. With all the sailors wearing whites, Navy officers would be wearing white blouses, so the guys in the dark blouses with white trousers must be Marines.
    – R Leonard
    Jun 11, 2022 at 17:37
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    Also appears to be flying the Presidential flag circa 1902-1916 (no stars). Here's a shot of Mayflower with same. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – R Leonard
    Jun 12, 2022 at 3:21

2 Answers 2


On reading the question I had the hunch, "looks like a US Presidential yacht", and googled "presidental yachts of the united states" and found a page with a photo that looked very much like the OP's picture, naming it as the USS Mayflower. The overall appearance of the ship seemed to match, especially the placement of portholes.

Following R. Leonard's suggestion to look at blow-ups of the photo, I can almost read the name on the stern as "Mayflower", and see overall match with trustable pictures of the Mayflower, such as this and that.


After carefully reviewing all the helpful information provided by the other members, I agree that this photograph is of the presidential yacht USS Mayflower. Thank you all very much for your time and input.

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    Please note you can click on the checkmark appearing alongside the answer you agree with, selecting this as the 'accepted' answer.
    – justCal
    Jun 13, 2022 at 4:43
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    Thank you for the heads up, I was not aware of that I’m still learning.
    – Dave Mose
    Jun 13, 2022 at 17:57

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