Visited in April 1995

The roots of today's modern Coast Guard include several sea-related organizations that eventually became part of the original Coast Guard — known as the Revenue Cutter Service when it was established in 1790.

The fledgling American government established this Cutter Service to enforce quarantines, customs and tariffs on maritime shipping. A small but brave band of sailors earned their stripes battling pirates and smugglers plying the waters offshore America's eastern coastline.

One related group dated back to Colonial times when the Lighthouse Service came into being in 1716. Its job was to erect and man lighthouses, tend buoys and operate lightships, but it was 150 years before it officially became a part of the Coast Guard.

Another, the Bureau of Navigation and Steamship Inspection, began in 1838. It monitored and inspected steamboat engines in American ports and chartered and monitored domestic waterways.

The government also established the Lifesaving Service in 1848 to assist mariners in distress and rescue victims of the sea. That, too became part of the Coast Guard's duties and responsibilities.

Coast Guard aviation had its beginning in 1915, and has since expanded to include modern day jets and helicopters to fight the war on drugs.

Today's Coast Guard is also involved in fighting oil spills, icebreaking, marking channels, enforcing immigration laws, tracking icebergs, protecting fisheries, maintaining aids to navigation, protecting ports, conducting search and rescue missions, and maintaining defense readiness capabilities.

While it has performed as an armed service during times of war, the Coast Guard is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation…not the Department of Defense. That fact may surprise many people.

The Coast Guard Academy was founded in 1876 and now graduates about 175 officers each May. Each then enters a five-year tour of duty with a Bachelor of Science degree and the knowledge that he or she has joined a select group of individuals uniquely prepared mentally and physically to go on to a career in a chosen field. Some will command cutters, fly Coast Guard aircraft and attend postgraduate school.

Applicants to attend the Coast Guard Academy need no congressional appointments. Merit and merit alone is the first requirement to be considered for acceptance to this unique academy.

Acceptance to the Academy's four-year Bachelor of Science program and training is based on an annual competition among top students across the nation. The competition is evaluated for high school performance, standardized test scores, leadership potential, and desire to serve the nation.

An appointment to the Academy represents a full four-year scholarship and additional monthly allowance of $558. The Academy values the young men and women who choose to join this respected Corps of Cadets.

Cadets complete a carefully prepared series of courses oriented towards engineering, the sciences and professional studies. Freshmen classroom sizes range from 20-25 students and upper level classes contain from 10-12. The academic experience includes more than book learning. Physical skills, stamina, leadership and competitive attitude are vital to being an officer.

Athletics: The Academy fields 21 teams in varsity sports and five club sports. Facilities include a football and soccer stadium; swimming pools; basketball, volleyball and racquetball courts; baseball and softball diamonds; rowing and sailing centers; rifle/pistol range.

Extracurricular: Activities include the Regimental Band, Drum & Bugle Corps, instrumental groups, pep bands, Glee Clubs, choirs, cheerleading, and involvement in local community activities — part of being a good citizen at the Academy.

High Tech: The Academy has some of the most sophisticated labs in the world, including the Ship Control and Navigation Training Simulator, the Radar Simulator and the Tow and Wave Tanks.

Hands-on ExperIence:

FRESHMAN YEAR. In early July, some 275 young men and women selectees arrive in early July for an invigorating period of physical, military and leadership training known as “Swab Summer” to prepare them to join the Corps of Cadets. During the last week, these freshmen cruise aboard the training ship EAGLE.

SOPHOMORE YEAR. A five-week cruise on the EAGLE, then three weeks at an operational Coast Guard unit ashore or afloat, plus two weeks of small boat sailing.

JUNIOR YEAR. One week of leadership training, three weeks as cadre for incoming freshmen, one week at Damage Control School, one week rifle and pistol qualification and two weeks aviation familiarization.

SENIOR YEAR. Ten weeks aboard a Coast Guard cutter as part of the wardroom, leading to qualification as a Deck Watch or Engineering officer afloat. Academic internships are available on Capitol Hill and in Coast Guard Specialty fields.

NUMBER OF CADETS: 925. 20% women. 20% minority.

AVERAGE ENTRY SCORES: Math: SAT 640. ACT 27. Verbal: SAT 544. ACT 25.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: U.S. citizen. 17-21 years old. Pass mental & physical exams.

APPLICANT TOURS: The Admissions Office conducts campus tours and briefings for parents and high school students at 1:15 p.m. each Friday, except holidays). Reservations are not required but are recommended.


ACADEMIC MAJORS: Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Government, Management, Marine Engineering, Marine Science, Mathematics, Naval Architecture.

U.S. COAST GUARD MISSIONS: Aids to Navigation, Boat Safety. Defense Operations, Environmental Response, Ice Operations, Marine Inspection and Licensing, Marine Science, Maritime Law Enforcement, Migrant Interdiction, Port Safety & Security, Search & Rescue, Waterways Management.