FDR’s “Floating White House” USS Potomac berthed in Oakland California

Apr 11, 2018

FDR’s Floating White House. The USS Potomac is fully restored and berthed in Oakland, California.
Credit Thomas Wilmer

The USS Potomac served as the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Floating White House” from 1936 until his death in 1945. How the USS Potomac came to reside in Oakland, California is a fascinating journey.

Following a ten year stint as a Coast Guard patrol boat, the Potomac saw duty as a Caribbean ferry, Elvis Presley private yacht, and a stint as a drug smuggler that ultimately led to its sinking while tied up on Treasure Island.

The Oakland Port Authority purchased the derelict USS Potomac and spent more than fourteen years, and six million dollars painstakingly restoring Roosevelt’s Presidential Yacht.

Today the vessel is a registered National Historic Landmark, berthed at Oakland’s Jack London Square and offers regularly scheduled San Francisco Bay cruises.

Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer aboard the USS Potomac for a visit with the 1st Mate, the ship’s Captain, and one of the volunteer historians.  

FDR's berth aboard the USS Potomac
Credit Thomas Wilmer
FDR's Chris Craft aboard the USS Potomac
Credit Thomas Wilmer

Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer winner of the Lowell Thomas Award 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013
Credit SATW Foundation