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U.S. Coast Guard Day

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U. S. Coast Guard

Historical Overview



A boarding party from the Revenue Cutter Morris prepares to board the passenger vessel Benjamin Adams on 16 July 1861 about 200 miles east of New York. The Benjamin Adams was bound for New York from Liverpool and carried 650 Scottish and Irish immigrants. The Revenue Cutter Service was originally established to enforce U.S. tariff laws at sea and inspected incoming merchant vessels for compliance with those laws, as is illustrated here.



The United States Coast Guard is this nation's oldest and its premier maritime agency. The history of the Service is very complicated because it is the amalgamation of five Federal agencies. These agencies, the Revenue Cutter Service, the Lighthouse Service, the Steamboat Inspection Service, the Bureau of Navigation, and the Lifesaving Service, were originally independent, but had overlapping authorities and were shuffled around the government. They sometimes received new names, and they were all finally united under the umbrella of the Coast Guard. The multiple missions and responsibilities of the modern Service are directly tied to this diverse heritage and the magnificent achievements of all of these agencies.




Law Enforcement


Throughout its history the Coast Guard's law enforcement responsibilities have primarily been threefold. First, is to ensure that the tariffs are not avoided. Second, to protect shipping from pirates and any other unlawful interdiction. Third, to intercept material and human contraband.



Revenue Captain William Cooke seizes contraband gold landed from a French privateer, 1793.)




Military Readiness


The Coast Guard, through its forefathers, is the oldest continuous seagoing service and has fought in almost every war since the Constitution became the law of the land in 1789. Following the War of Independence (1776-83), the Continental Navy was disbanded and from 1790 until 1794, when Congress authorized the construction of six frigates (of which only three were launched by 1797), the revenue cutters were the only national maritime service. The Acts establishing the Navy also empowered the President to use the revenue cutters to supplement the fleet when needed. Laws later clarified the relationship between the Coast Guard and the Navy.


The Coast Guard has traditionally performed two roles in wartime. The first has been to augment the Navy with men and cutters. The second has been to undertake special missions, for which peacetime experiences have prepared the Service with unique skills. During the Quasi-War with France (1798-99), eight cutters operated along our southern coast in the Caribbean Sea, and among the West Indies Islands.



the cutter Eagle captures the French privateer Bon Pere in April, 1799.)









RIP 68-69 Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club





FReeper Canteen ~ Happy 224th Birthday, United States Coast Guard ~ 04 August 2014

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