The United States Coast Guard: Protecting your Cargo for over 200 Years
Saturday, August 4th will mark the 228th anniversary of the United States Coast Guard. This branch of the military is the oldest continuous sea-going service in the US. In 1790, Alexander Hamilton implemented the Revenue Marine Service with the purpose to collect import duties in US Harbors. But what do they do now? The conventional answer is they “guard the coast”, as the name implies, but aside from saving over 3,000 lives, and seizing over 300,000 pounds of contraband each year, they protect your shipments.
Each year over $250 billion worth of cargo passes through the Port of Los Angeles alone, and these shipments account for a major portion of US Commerce. This volume of traffic makes the port vulnerable to terrorist attacks. After the events on 9/11, the Coast Guard took swift action and setup specialized anti-terrorism units known as Maritime Safety and Security Teams. Equipped with ultra-fast response boats, helicopters and K-9 units, they have capabilities to rapidly deploy to detect explosives on vessels or even secure the entire port.
Port traffic can also be an issue. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Services are also located in major ports throughout the US. They safely guide vessels in and out via radio communication just as air traffic control pilots do for airplanes. Further, Coast Guard men and women maintain aids to navigation beacons, buoys and markers. This mitigates the risk of vessels colliding or running aground, both would have grave implications on the timing and condition of your cargo.
Whether the Coast Guard is protecting our ports or making sure vessels can safely navigate throughout, they help keep your business operating. Happy 228th Birthday to the United States Coast Guard. Semper Paratus!
Former Chief Electronics Technician, USCG 2000 - 2014