Wild Goose, John Wayne’s Yacht, Now on National Register of Historic Places

Wild Goose

PHOTO: Courtesy Facebook/The Wild Goose

The 136-foot Wild Goose, the dearly cherished yacht of John Wayne, is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

In late July, the U.S. Department of the Interior approved the nomination, which had previously been certified by the California Office of Historic Preservation. Wild Goose was deemed eligible for entry into the National Register because of her association with Wayne. The documents submitted and approved cite him as “one of the most iconic actors in the history of cinema” and the yacht “as an expression of John Wayne’s personality and outsized image.”

Wayne enjoyed time aboard the all-wood megayacht from 1962 until two months prior to his death in 1979. Wild Goose was actually a converted minesweeper, originally built in 1943 in Seattle as YMS-328 for the U.S. Navy. She was decommissioned from military use in 1946, her three on-deck guns removed in the process. Harold Jones, the owner of the Vancouver Tug and Barge Company, purchased the vessel in 1948 and converted her for private use, christening her La Beverie. In the late 1950s, Max Wyman, a Seattle-area lumber tycoon, acquired her, gracing her with the name Wild Goose II, which was reportedly inspired by a run-down sailboat owned by his chef.

Wild Goose

PHOTO: Courtesy National Register of Historic Places

Wyman sold the yacht to Wayne for $116,000, a tidy sum in those days. Thereafter, she was known just as Wild Goose. Wayne further altered the yacht for his needs, creating a master stateroom and adding two staterooms for his children in 1965. In fact, one of the staterooms, fitted with bunk berths, still bears raised carvings reading “EW” and “AW,” made by his children Ethan and Aissa, respectively, to represent their initials. One of Wayne’s most famous additions is still aboard, too. It’s a round Koa wood table on the aft deck (above), where he hosted many a poker game. When just he and his family were aboard, it was used as a dining table.

Wayne’s children, captains, and crewmembers all have given interviews over the years attesting to how Wayne thoroughly enjoyed family time on Wild Goose. The kids waterskied off the California coast, and they took family trips up the U.S. West Coast. Wild Goose even ventured to Europe with Wayne aboard shortly after he purchased her, so that he could film Circus World. But she became particularly important to him after his lung-cancer diagnosis in 1964. Wayne moved to the coast, directly across the street from Wild Goose’s berth, in 1965.

Interesting enough, as big of a movie star as Wayne was, Wild Goose actually became a film star herself. Though she never appeared on the screen alongside Wayne, she was featured in The President’s Analyst in 1967 and Skidoo in 1968.

Wild Goose still cruises in California, hosting day trips under the operation of Hornblower Cruises & Events.

10 thoughts on “Wild Goose, John Wayne’s Yacht, Now on National Register of Historic Places

  1. I had a friend don bain from Canada I met in Spokane Washington who said he had a company named canalaska and was friends with john wayne. he said he had a boat just like john’s and named it grey goose II.
    he said him and john would travel up and down the west coast of US for fun.
    can you verify this?


    • We’ve never heard of a motoryacht similar to John Wayne’s by that name. In the 70-foot-plus size range, we do know of a 72-foot sloop built at the Derecktor yard in New York in 1987 that was launched as Grey Goose II.

  2. I own a U.S. Navy minesweeper, the same as the wild goose. I’m thinking about selling, and thought
    You might know someone interested. It is YMS-111, presently named the “Western Challenger”.
    This vessel has been in the fishing industry since 1951, and would convert easily for pleasure service.
    If you know some one interested, call Tony @907-518-0440.

    • My father served aboard the YMS 111, it was based in Cape May, New Jersey during the war . I would greatly appreciate any information about the ship (perhaps a photo), where it is currently located, etc. This is quite extraordinary for me, of the over 400 of these vessels built for the war, it may be the only survivor ( at least in something close to original appearance). Any reply would greatly be appreciated. My name is Richard Johnston ( my father was Ensign Curtis G Johnston) from Pennsylvania

      • I worked on the Wild Goose when it was in Marina Del Rey around 1995. I cleaned the bottom! You might be interested to know that captain loved the boat and was very in to CAD and modeled the boat

    • Small world, I went to Vancouver BC to put the then LaBevere back in service for Max Wyman, who later sold it to John Wayne. I also ran the MV Puffin same hull for underwater recovery and survey work. Do you still have YMS 111? I love those ships easy to work.

  3. I am part of the Nauticapedia project on western Canada. http://www.nauticapedia.ca/index.php
    We are looking for a nice photo of the Wild Goose for our vessel data base. Would it be possible to use either of the above photos for this purpose. If so how should we attribute them.

    This is the db item requiring the photo.

    Thanks for your consideration.

    • The photos in our article are from the Facebook page for the yacht, https://www.facebook.com/thewildgoose. You can use any of the images there for your database, credited accordingly, due to Facebook’s terms of use. The terms state that users grant “a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License).”

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