Coast Guard

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The U.S. Coast Guard’s mission is to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic interests — in the nation’s ports and waterways, along the coast, on international waters, or in any maritime region as required to support national security.

For over two centuries the U.S. Coast Guard has safeguarded the United States’ maritime interests in the heartland, in the ports, at sea, and around the globe. We protect the maritime economy and the environment, we defend our maritime borders, and we save those in peril. This history has forged our character and purpose as America’s Maritime Guardian — Always Ready for all hazards and all threats.

Today’s U.S. Coast Guard, with nearly 42,000 men and women on active duty, is a unique force that carries out an array of civil and military responsibilities touching almost every facet of the U.S. maritime environment.

By law, the Coast Guard has 11 missions: 

•Ports, waterways, and coastal security
•Drug interdiction
•Aids to navigation
•Search and rescue
•Living marine resources
•Marine safety
•Defense readiness
•Migrant interdiction
•Marine environmental protection
•Ice operations
•Other law enforcement

The legal basis for the Coast Guard is Title 14 of the United States Code, which states: “The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed force of the United States at all times.” Upon the declaration of war or when the President directs, the Coast Guard operates under the authority of the Department of the Navy. 

As members of a military service, Guardians on active duty and in the Reserve are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and receive the same pay and allowances as members of the same pay grades in the other four armed services.

The Coast Guard’s motto is “Semper Paratus,” which means “Always Ready.”

Coast Guard Opts Not to Close Station in Eufaula...Yet

Adm. Paul Zukunft and his wife

Under political pressure, the U.S. Coast Guard has changed course in its plans to close its station in Eufaula and to stop maintaining the channel marker system in Lake Walter F. George and in the river between it and Columbus. But it may be a temporary reprieve. The Coast Guard announced in December that it was considering closing down the Aid... more

Coast Guard Calls Off Search for Overboard Royal Caribbean Passenger

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The U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday called off its search for a Royal Caribbean passenger who fell overboard Sunday while the cruise ship was in the Florida Keys. Frank Slippo, 43, fell from the 12th deck balcony of the Liberty of the Seas cruise ship around 9 p.m. local time Sunday. He was seen on security footage climbing over the railing prior... more

Missing Boater Turns Up OK after Overnight Search

ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- A missing boater safely returned home this morning after another boater helped him restart his 20-foot boat, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The boat's battery had died. On Wednesday, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper notified the Coast Guard that a friend failed to return from a fishing trip Wednesday afternoon. The Coas... more

Coast Guard Searches for Cruise Ship Passenger Off Florida

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MARATHON, Fla. — The search continues for a man who fell from the Liberty of the Seas cruise ship about 20 miles off the coast of the Florida Keys. The U.S. Coast Guard says they don't know whether the man jumped or fell from the ship Sunday night. Royal Caribbean Cruises said in a statement that a review of the ship's closed-circuit camera foo... more

Coast Guard to Break Up Ice on Penobscot River

Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Bay, a 140-foot ice breaking tug, arrives at its temporary homeport at the Cleveland Moorings, Dec. 12, 2011. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener)

BANGOR, Maine -- The U.S. Coast Guard announced Monday that it is sending three ships to break ice in order to mitigate potential ice jam flooding on the Penobscot River near Bangor on Tuesday. Coast Guard Sector Northern New England has been monitoring ice levels on the Penobscot River with the assistance of Maine Emergency Management Agency, ... more

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