The Coast Guard was created after five separate federal services were combined: the U.S. Lighthouse Service, the Revenue Cutter Service, the Steamboat Inspection Service, Bureau of Navigation and the U.S. Lifesaving Service. In 1915, a congressional act combined the Life-Saving Service and Revenue Cutter Service to form the Coast Guard. The Service was placed under the control of the Treasury Department until 1967, when an executive order transferred the Coast Guard to the newly formed Department of Transportation.
Currently, the Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime and under the Navy during wartime, or by special presidential order. In addition to protecting our nation’s waterways, the 43,062 active-duty members of the Coast Guard perform search and rescue, law enforcement and environmental cleanup operations.
Before Serving in the Coast Guard
To join the Coast Guard, you must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien between 18 and 27 years old (or 17 with parental consent). While GEDs are sometimes accepted, high school diplomas are preferred. All recruits take the ASVAB test to determine placement. Those interested in becoming officers may apply to the Coast Guard Academy or talk to their local recruiter about other options.
Basic Training takes place at the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, N.J., and lasts for eight weeks. Daily fitness and swimming drills combined with classroom instruction prepare recruits mentally and physically for life in the Coast Guard.
Coast Guard Benefits
All Coast Guard members receive salaries and full health benefits, as well as opportunities for tuition reimbursement. In addition, the Coast Guard has obvious benefits for those who love the water. Combine travel, career training and strength of character to see why the Coast Guard can be so rewarding.
Coast Guard Careers
The Coast Guard offers a range of opportunities for all sorts of interests. The Coast Guard is a great place for professionals in the marine and environmental sciences, offering access to the latest technology and research initiatives. In addition, the Coast Guard offers strong careers in law enforcement and mechanical engineering.