How to Join the Coast Guard

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Although the U.S. Coast Guard becomes part of the U.S. Navy during wartime, it has the peacetime missions of search and rescue, environmental protection, maritime commerce, illegal drug interdiction, illegal migrant interdiction, national security and marine resource management.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet Access
  • Computers
  • Spiral Notebooks
  • Career Counseling
  • Academic Counselings
  • Pens And Pencils
  • GED Study Guides
  • Coast Guard Ships Videos
  • Find friends or relatives who have served in the U.S. Coast Guard. Talk about your possible enlistment.

  • Listen to their personal experiences, but remember to make your own judgments.

  • Understand that you may be away from friends and family for as long as four years.

  • Consider whether you want to request special training when joining. Much of a Coast Guardsman's duty revolves around small ships (cutters) and patrol boats.

  • Chat with a Coast Guard recruiter and take thorough notes. Try to establish a rapport with the recruiter.

  • Ask for literature and study it carefully.

  • Understand that a recruiter wants to answer your questions, but he or she also wants to recruit you into the Coast Guard.

  • Take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test either at school or at a Military Entrance Processing Station.

  • Specify your desired assignment clearly to the recruiter.

  • Remember that the U.S. Coast Guard strives to be drug-free. A drug test will be administered when you undergo physical examination.

  • Understand that you will also be subjected to a criminal background check.

  • Remember that the Coast Guard operates under military discipline. Every member is expected to be thoroughly dedicated to the Coast Guard's mission.

  • Make no legal commitment until you're absolutely sure of your decision.

Tips & Warnings

  • Over the past 200 years, the Revenue Cutter Service, the U.S. Lighthouse Service, the Steam Boat Inspection Service, the Life Saving Service and the Bureau of Navigation have been combined to become the U.S. Coast Guard, which was established as a service in 1915.
  • Originally, the U.S. Coast Guard was part of the Treasury Department. In 1967, it was transferred to the Department of Transportation.
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