Sea Otter was built as a private wooden motorboat. Two dates are listed for its completion, 1911 1 and 1913. 2. It was built by Britt Brothers, Lynn, Mass. 1.
The Sea Otter was also the first motor yacht to have a wireless set installed. In 1907 it was fitted with a Massie System in what was described as a very compact manner in one of the cupboards. It had an aerial of only 40 ft in height. The owner Hugh L Willoughby of Newport operated the apparatus himself and can easily read the Nantucket Shoal lighthouse from Newport Harbor, over 100 miles away. 3
On 11 June 1917, the U.S. Navy acquired her for use as a section patrol boat during World War I. She was commissioned the same day as USS Sea Otter (SP-781). The Sea Otter performed transportation and supply duties in United States East Coast ports for the rest of World War I.
She was decommissioned sometime after the end of the war, Sea Otter was stricken from the Navy List on 7 November 1919 and sold to Joseph Guild of Boston, Massachusetts, on 16 January 19204 .
1 Sea Otter (Id. No. 781)
2 USS Sea Otter (SP-781)
3 Electrical World, August 31 1907 Vol L No9
4 USS Sea Otter (SP-781)