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Why Join

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Joining the Coast Guard is one of the most important decisions someone will make in life. The support of family and friends is critical to making this decision and becoming part of the Coast Guard family. You want the best for them, but you may not know what to expect from the Coast Guard.

An Organization that Cares

Joining the Coast Guard means becoming a part of a tight-knit community, where everyone knows each other’s name and has their back. People who know us, choose us: the Coast Guard has more members continue after their first enlistment and more veterans choosing it than any other branch.

Fewer than 10% of jobs are on the largest cutters that spend more than six weeks at a time away from homeport.

A Bright Future

Joining the Coast Guard secures a wealth of opportunities for the future.

Steady pay. Service members earn a reliable paycheck that grows with advancement, as well as a comprehensive benefits package, which includes family healthcare and a retirement plan.

Job security. A Coast Guard career provides job stability and career-long employment opportunities. 

Training. The Coast Guard offers technical training and experience in a wide range of career options that directly translate to the civilian workplace.

Education. Service members have opportunities for in-service education, plus money for college from tuition assistance and the GI Bill.

The Coast Guard Lifestyle

The Coast Guard offers a fast-paced lifestyle. You may have questions about what it’s like, such as: 

  • Where will my loved one be stationed? Most Coast Guard members are stationed in cities or small communities along the Atlantic, Pacific, Great Lakes, or Gulf coasts. Overseas opportunities are usually filled by volunteers. Assignments normally last between two and four years.
  • How long are deployments? The Coast Guard’s area of operations is usually right at the unit. Fewer than 10% of jobs are on the largest cutters that spend more than six weeks at a time away from homeport.
  • What’s it like on-base? Coast Guard facilities are typically a workplace, and members live in the surrounding communities. Sometimes Coast Guard units are on or near large military bases, which may offer on-base housing and access to exclusive shopping and support amenities. 

At Basic Training

Your support of your loved one’s Coast Guard journey is never more important than when they go to basic training. Although contact with recruits is limited during basic training, you’re encouraged to exchange letters—but no care packages. Phone calls are permitted only in cases of emergency. You’re invited to attend your loved one's graduation ceremony, which is a celebration of their hard work during training.