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Canadian Forces' Kingston class Patrol boat
The Iliria, an example of a modern Patrol boat of the Albanian Naval Defense Forces.
PCE-872, a World War II patrol craft escort of the US Navy.

A patrol boat is a small naval vessel generally designed for coastal defense duties.

There have been many designs for patrol boats. They may be operated by a nation's navy, coast guard, or police force, and may be intended for marine (blue water) and/or estuarine or river ("brown water") environments. They are commonly found engaged in various border protection roles, including anti-smuggling, anti-piracy, fisheries patrols, and immigration law enforcement. They are also often called upon to participate in rescue operations.

They may be broadly classified as Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPVs) and Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).

They are warships typically smaller in size than a corvette and can include fast attack craft, torpedo boats and missile boats, although some are as large as a frigate. The offshore patrol vessels are usually the smallest ship in a navy's fleet that are large and seaworthy enough to patrol off-shore in the open ocean. In larger militaries, such as in the United States military, offshore patrol vessels usually serve in the coast guard, but many smaller nations navies operate these type of ships.

During both World Wars in order to rapidly build up numbers, all sides created auxiliary patrol boats by arming motorboats and sea going fishing trawlers with machine guns and obsolescent naval weapons. Some modern patrol vessels are still based on fishing and leisure boats.

Seagoing patrol boats are typically around 30m (100 ft) in length and usually carry a single medium caliber artillery gun as main armament, and a variety of lighter secondary armament such as machine guns or a close-in weapon system. Depending on role, vessels in this class may also have more sophisticated sensors and fire control systems that would enable them to carry torpedoes, anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles. Most modern designs are powered by gas turbine arrangements such as CODAG, and speeds are generally in the 25–30 knot range. They are primarily used for patrol in a country's Exclusive Economic Zone. Common tasks are fisheries inspection, anti-smuggling (usually anti-narcotics) duties, illegal immigration patrols, anti-piracy patrols and search and rescue (law enforcement-type of work). The largest OPVs might also have a flight deck and helicopter embarked. In times of crisis or war, these vessels are expected to support the larger vessels in the navy.

Their small size and relatively low cost make them one of the most common type of warship in the world. Almost all navies operate at least a few offshore patrol vessels, especially those with only "green water" capabilities. They are useful in smaller seas such as the North Sea as well as in open oceans.

Similar vessels for exclusively military duties include torpedo boats and missile boats. The United States Navy operated the Pegasus class of armed hydrofoils for years, in a patrol boat role.

The River Patrol Boat (PBR, sometimes called "Riverine" and "Pibber") is a U.S. design of small patrol boat type designed to patrol waters of large rivers. For more examples of Patrol Boats visit


Specific nations



HMAS Armidale of the Royal Australian Navy.



  • Meghna class large patrol boats (Bangladesh Navy)
  • 'Hainan' class patrol boat
  • Kraljevica class patrol boat
  • Barkat ('Haizhui' class/Type 062) small patrol boat
  • Padma (Ajay) class patrol boat
  • Shaheed ('Shanghai-II') class small patrol boats


  • Grajaú class offshore patrol vessel
  • Bracuí class patrol vessel (ex-River class minesweeper)
  • Imperial Marinheiro class offshore patrol vessel
  • Piratini class patrol vessel
  • J class patrol vessel
  • Roraima class river patrol vessel
  • Pedro Teixeira class river patrol vessel


HMCS Yellowknife, a Kingston-class patrol boat of the Canadian navy





Hellenic Navy HSY-56A Gunboat HS Aittitos, P-268.

Hellenic Navy

Hellenic Coast Guard

Hellenic Coast Guard Saar 4 class OPV ΛΣ-060.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Police Force




  • FPB 28, Indonesian Navy, 28 meter long patrol boat made by local Shipyard PT.PAL
  • FPB 57, Indonesian Navy, 57 meter long patrol boat designed by Luerssen and made by PT.PAL, ASM and heli deck equipped for some version.
  • PC-40, Indonesian Navy, 40 meter long FRP/Aluminum patrol boat, locally made by in house Navy's workshop.




Italian Coast Guard patrol boat U. Diciotti, CP-902.


Japan Coast Guard "Hida" (PL51).



ARM "Oaxaca", head of the Oaxaca class Offshore patrol vessel of the Mexican Navy
Durango class ships, offshore patrol vessels of Mexican Navy


New Zealand


KNM Skjold of the Royal Norwegian Navy.

Royal Norwegian Navy


Philippine Navy


Portuguese Navy



Sri Lanka

South Korea


  • Descubierta class
  • Serviola class
  • Anaga class
  • Barceló class
  • Toralla class
  • Conejera class
  • Chilreu class
  • P111 class patrol boat
  • Cabo Fradera class


United Kingdom

HMS Severn and HMS Mersey are two River class offshore patrol vessels of the Royal Navy

United States



  1. ^ "Gunboats Class Thetis". Hellenic Navy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  2. ^ "Gunboats Class Osprey 55". Hellenic Navy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  3. ^ "Gunboats Class Osprey HSY-55". Hellenic Navy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  4. ^ "Gunboats Class Asheville". Hellenic Navy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  5. ^ E.A. Pagotsis (2009). G. Christogiannakis. ed. Hellenic Defence Report 2009-2010 (Yearbook of the magazine Hellenic Defence & Security). Athens: Line Defence Publications Ltd. pp. 81. 


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