Patrol Boat, Riverine, or PBR, is the United States Navy designation for a small rigid-hulled patrol boat used in the Vietnam War from March 1966 until the end of 1971. They were deployed in a force that grew to 250 boats, the most common craft in the River Patrol Force, Task Force 116, and were used to stop and search river traffic in areas such as the Mekong Delta, the Rung Sat Special Zone, the Saigon River and in I Corps, in the area assigned to Task Force Clearwater, in an attempt to disrupt weapons shipments. In this role they frequently became involved in firefights with enemy soldiers on boats and on the shore, were used to insert and extract Navy SEAL teams, and were employed by the United States Army's 458th Transportation Company, known as the 458th Sea Tigers.
The PBR was a versatile boat with a fiberglass hull and water jet drive which enabled it to operate in shallow, weed-choked rivers. It drew only 2 feet (0.61 m) of water fully loaded. The drives could be pivoted to reverse direction, turn the boat in its own length, or come to a stop from full speed in a few boat lengths. The PBR was designed by Willis Slane and Jack Hargrave of Hatteras Yachts, located in Morehead City, NC at the time, and its hull was based on an existing Hatteras Yacht hull. Just seven days after a meeting with US Navy officials, Slane and Hargrave had a prototype ready. The 11 PBRs delivered in March 1966 and the approximately 300 delivered over the next few years to the U.S. and South Vietnamese military were based on a pleasure boat design constructed by Uniflite, a boatyard in Bellingham, Washington, on the northern end of Puget Sound near the Canadian border.
The PBR was usually manned by a four-man crew. Typically, a First Class Petty Officer served as boat captain, with a gunner's mate, an engineman and a seaman on board. Each crewman was cross-trained in each other's jobs in the event one became unable to carry out his duties. Generally, PBRs operated in pairs under the command of a patrol officer who rode on one of the boats.