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Why Join

Maritime interests are critical to our nation’s security, economy, and prosperity. Our waterways are precious environmental resources used for both commerce and recreation. The Coast Guard protects our seas, and protects us from the sea. 

Protection from the Sea 

Helping mariners in distress is a core Coast Guard mission, with over 3,500 lives and more than $75 million in property saved per year.

Coast Guard search and rescue response operations involve cutters, aircraft, and boats joined through communication networks, command centers, and search planners to locate people in danger and return them to safety. 

Before danger strikes, the Coast Guard sets and enforces safety regulations that protect crews and passengers. 

Protecting the Sea

Human activity threatens many of the sea’s delicate and commercially valuable ecosystems. The Coast Guard safeguards the maritime environment by enforcing U.S. and international laws and responding to incidents.  

The Coast Guard regulates and inspects vessels and maritime facilities to reduce the risk of marine pollution incidents.  When spills occur, the Coast Guard leads response efforts to contain the damage.  

 U.S. fisheries support over $240 billion in economic activity annually, but nearly 20% are considered overfished. The Coast Guard enforces environmental laws that protect commercial and endangered species.

The effects of climate change have increased the Arctic’s scientific, economic, and national security importance. The Coast Guard has the only American-owned heavy icebreaker capable of supporting Arctic and Antarctic operations.  

Maritime Law Enforcement & Security

Since the Coast Guard’s creation by our nation’s founding fathers, the Coast Guard has enforced federal customs laws and caught tax-dodgers. Today, our international authority and our fleet make the modern Coast Guard the world’s premier maritime law enforcement agency.  

The Coast Guard patrols America’s coasts and international waters using cutters, aircraft, and intelligence to detect, intercept, and disrupt dangerous and illegal activities such as drug smuggling and human trafficking. 

Maritime Transportation

The Coast Guard regulates the operation of commercial vessels and safeguards the efficient movement of maritime commerce, valued at over $5 trillion annually. Mariners complete Coast Guard certified training to become licensed. The Coast Guard issues permits and can direct ports closed or opened, and our vessel traffic managers direct ships on critical waterways. Recreational and commercial boaters can safely navigate America’s waterways thanks to the Coast Guard’s network of buoys, lighthouses, electronic aids, and ice breaking operations.