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 Suspends Search for Missing Teen Boaters in Florida

Andrew Grubowski, 10, of Palm City, Fla., releases a lantern during a vigil for missing teens Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Stuart, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Coast Guard announced on Friday afternoon that at sunset today it will suspend the search for the two missing teenage boaters, Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen. During a news conference at Coast Guard Air Station Miami, in Opa-locka, Capt. Mark Fedor told reporters that the agency's "active and open search" would last through daylight hours... more

Scientist: Oil Slick Likely from Natural Seafloor Seepage

This photo provided by the Santa Barbara County, Calif., Fire Department shows a sample of oil scraped off the side of a kayak in Goleta, Calif., July 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

LOS ANGELES  — Beaches along the Santa Barbara County coast remained open to swimmers, surfers and sunbathers Friday as the Coast Guard worked to determine whether an oil slick that materialized just offshore this week was simply the result of natural ocean-floor seepage. That's the conclusion Jordan Clark, professor of earth science and enviro... more

After Week of Searching, No Sign of Boys Lost at Sea

This combination made from photos provided by the U.S. Coast Guard shows Perry Cohen, left, and Austin Stephanos, both 14 years old. Cohen and Stephanos were last seen Friday afternoon, July 24, 2015, in the Jupiter, Fla. area. (U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A seventh night of searches for two Florida boys missing at sea has passed with no major break. The Coast Guard says crews are still scouring waters from Florida to South Carolina on Friday but haven't found any new clues in the disappearance. Fourteen-year-olds Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos of Tequesta have been... more

Coast Guard Stamp to be Dedicated on Tuesday

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One hundred years after it was created, the U.S. Coast Guard will be the subject of a U.S. Postal Service stamp. The Forever stamp, named because it's always worth a first-class stamp regardless of postal price fluctuations, will be dedicated at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The stamp is based on ... more

California Beaches Remain Open as Source of Oil Slick Sought

This photo provided by the Santa Barbara County, Calif., Fire Department shows a sample of oil scraped off the side of a kayak in Goleta, Calif., July 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

GOLETA, Calif.  — Beachgoers were warned to avoid tar balls on Thursday along the Santa Barbara shoreline as the Coast Guard sought the source of a mysterious miles-long oil slick that floated up 1,000 yards from the sand. Authorities said the three-mile sheen was harmless to people and beaches remained open — in contrast to the mass closure ... more

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