Coast Guards

Find Coast Guard (USCG) and Auxiliary Coast Guard bases, locations and facilities. The US Coast Guard provides information on the Coast Guard Academy, requirements for joining/recruiting, boot camp, training, jobs, salary and pay scale for careers in the Coast Guard or auxiliary/reserve forces.

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About Coast Guards

What is the Coast Guard?

The United States Coast Guard is one of the five service branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Its multiple missions extend beyond a purely military role to span law enforcement, search and rescue, and regulatory functions. The Coast Guard operates as a part of the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime. During war, it can be transferred to the Department of the Navy.

The Coast Guard operates search and rescue facilities on the east, west, and Gulf coasts, off Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and in the Great Lakes and other inland waterways. The search and rescue operation helps boaters in distress, and it is one of the Coast Guard's oldest missions. The Coast Guard further promotes maritime safety through licensing mariners and inspecting merchant vessels, offshore drilling units, and marine facilities. The Coast Guard also provides navigation assistance through a network of signs, symbols, buoys, markers, and lighthouses. In locations with seasonal icy waters, the Coast Guard operates heavy icebreakers, ensuring safe passage for commercial traffic as well as for emergency situations.

The Coast Guard has substantial law enforcement authority. This authority is directed primarily toward preventing the entry of smuggled drugs and the passage of illegal migrants into the country. The Coast Guard also protects the health of U.S. fisheries by preventing illegal fishing. The Coast Guard's law enforcement efforts support its responsibility for the safety of ports and waterways, which includes counter-terrorism preparedness and response.

The Marine Environmental Protection program is a regulatory function of the Coast Guard aimed at preventing a range of environmental threats, including invasive species, ocean dumping, and oil and chemical spills.

As an Armed Forces branch, the Coast Guard maintains defense readiness with four national defense missions. These include maritime intercept operations, port security and defense, peacetime engagement, and environmental defense operations.

The Coast Guard carries out its multiple missions with 40,000 active duty personnel and 35,000 auxiliary personnel. An additional 8,000 serve as reservists.