Talk:Coast guard

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I hope this isn't a stupid question, but since I have to ask maybe it's important enough to add to the page. My question: Is it currently "peacetime" or "wartime"? That is, does the Coast Guard *currently* report to Homeland Security or the Navy? Did it report to the Navy during either the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq? Thanks! JRP 18:29, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

That's an interesting question. The main US Coast Guard page shows that the USCG was involved in the war on Iraq, but it doesn't mention under who's command. If someone knows the answer (which, I suspect, is a bit of both), it'd certainly be an interesting addition to that page, though I do feel that we risk overloading this generic Coastguard page with too much country-specific information - there's rather a lot as it stands just now. --Scott Wilson 18:44, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

The note might better belong on that article instead, but it's still an interesting question... JRP 18:52, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

The U.S. Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security for most of it's operations. However under certain situations (mainly a War) assets of the Coast Guard are placed under the command of a fleet admiral of a navy battle group. This usually corresponds to larger cutters such as 378's or 270's that are incorporated into the battle group itself, but can also refer to specific Coast Guard boarding teams that are stationed temporarily aboard Navy ships. To elaborate, the Navy cannot board vessels in International waters unless the U.S. is in a declared state of war. The Coast Guard has jurisdiction to board anyone, anytime, anywhere; as well as extensive training in such evolutions, and are therefore utilized in that respect. Assets currently serving overseas report to the head of operations for whatever job they have been assigned. Security Team members guarding oil rigs answer to the Commander of whatever unit (army,marines) they have been integrated with, yet still retain a level of independence and a Officer in Charge for themselves who acts as a direct representative for his district commander. Thus, they still are able to work independently within their assigned unit. Aids to Navigation Cutters work almost exclusively independent, maintaining communications with state side Superiors via Satellite Communications. I am afraid it is a little complicated when compared to the other more well known services. The Coast Guard has long been the Swiss Army Knife of the armed forces, and therefore have many roles and many different methods of achieving the objectives of each role. Hope this helps. --Coldbourne 05:31, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

If I understand the rules correctly, the English Wikipedia can use either English or American spellings. The last revision was therefore unnecessary. GABaker 18:00 14 November 2005

Pretty much agreeing with Coldbourne is this extract from a US Coast Goard web site:
  • In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks President George W. Bush proposed the creation of a new Cabinet-level agency, eventually named the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard was foremost among the agencies slated to become a constituent of the new department. On 25 November 2002, President Bush signed HR 5005 creating the Department of Homeland Security. Soon after, Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania, was confirmed as the department's first Secretary. On 25 February 2003, Transportation Secretary, Norman Mineta transferred leadership of the U.S. Coast Guard to Secretary Ridge, formally recognizing the change in civilian leadership over the Coast Guard and ending the Coast Guard's almost 36 year term as a member of the Department of Transportation.
  • As a prominent member of the new department, US Coast Guard units deployed to Southwest Asia in support of the US-led coalition engaged in Operation Iraqi Freedom early in 2003. [1]
So about 3 years ago, the Coast Guard went under Homeland Security. --Uncle Ed 19:00, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Doubtful intro definition[edit]

A coast guard is an organization devoted to saving the lives of shipwrecked mariners or people in danger at sea ?

If that is a citation from a dictionary, respected encyclopedia, or at least a textbook - please reference. Cause I doubt this is the main and most spread task of the coast guards throughout the world. E.g., some countries have special maritime rescue services other than CG (like Russia, Ukraine etc.). Also, nobody and no govt organization is devoted to saving ... at sea in an open sea/ocean :) . Ukrained 01:01, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

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. [2]

Seems like "life-saving" was not the original and only purpose. But in peacetime, search and rescue is part of what they do.

I think fighting smugglers is a bigger part of it.

Also, they have military ranks similar to naval ranks (their top man is an admiral). They just don't camouflage their boats, because they aren't aggressive (i.e., conquering enemy nations) but defensive: they want you to see them coming and "heave to". --Uncle Ed 18:55, 23 February 2006 (UTC)


Like the intro now says, the word Coastguard implies completely different things in different countries. So much so, that I think this page should have a disambig template. —This unsigned comment was added by Johndarrington (talkcontribs) 01:15, 29 March 2006 (UTC).

  • I quite like the article as it is; it gives an insight into the differing responsibilities coastguards have worldwide. If you want more specific information on a particular country's organisation, there's the list at the bottom; it's a good balance between the two, in my opinion. --Scott Wilson 09:59, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
    • This is a bit like saying all the Steve_Miller pages should be combined into one, because it gives an insight into the differing aspects of the lives of people with that name throught the world. jmd
  • There's no link between the different Steve Millers, but there is between coastguards; they have comparable, if not exactly the same, duties. --Scott Wilson 13:00, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Well my point kinda was that there is very little in common between the different "coastguard" organisations throughout the world. Really the only thing they have in common is the name. The reason for this name is historical. So perhaps if this page is anything more than a disambig page, then it should be a historical overview of the all the various services, concentrating on the era when there was indeed only one meaning; this precludes pictures of things like helicopters. jmd

What is and what is not a coastguard?[edit]

Re [3] - How to tell whether an organisation is a coastguard or not? By its name or by its functions and duties? — Instantnood 18:24, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

See discussions above and basic knowledge of just what a Coast Guard actually is. A coordinating search and rescue centre certainly does not qualify, for then perhaps Greenpeace can be one too!--Huaiwei 18:52, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
I read the article on Her Majesty's Coastguard. It seems to me that their functions are more or less the same, except that the HKMRCC relies on the planes and helicopters of the Government Flying Service, and vessels of the Fire Services Department and Marine Police, and it doesn't coordinate ambulances and hospitals. — Instantnood 19:17, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
Did you bother to read the discussion above, the second time I have to remind, btw?--Huaiwei 19:27, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
How would you be able to know whether I did or didn't? Because I did not refer to what was said above? Are you actually interested to discuss how to define coastguard? — Instantnood 19:32, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
When I ask someone to read the above discussions, I do expect him to infer from the above and give us a more insightful commentary instead of merely repeating the original question all over again. And you have not given your opinion on my suggestion of adding every single S&R agency in the world in this list.--Huaiwei 04:56, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Is anti-smuggling and illegal immigration, policing, etc., serach and rescue? Some organisations are named coastguards, but may not be coastguards in the conventional sense. Some are assuming the duties of coastguards, but are not named as such. How should this article deals with such problem? — Instantnood 16:30, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

This article should take as wide a defenition as possible; part of its raison d'etre is to answer the question 'how do other folk do it?' that may come to our readers. Any organisation - especially governmental ones - that could reasonably be compared to a coast guard that does not fit into another category, such as navy or police, should be listed here. --Scott Wilson 00:43, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

While I agree that this article should take into account the different ways in which the organisation known as a "Coast Guard" operates in other countries, I feel this article should be reserved only for organisations which does carry that name, or reasonable variants of it. I do not see how the inclusion of the HK entry, for example, adds anything to this article, considering it has roles similar to what has already been described, and does not even have a single organisation carrying the name "Coast Guard".
I would say the "Coast guards and their roles" section should be reserved for a select number of entities which carry the name "Coast Guard", but have roles reasonably distinct from one another so as to demonstrate to the reader the general deviations around the world. There is no need to include an entry for every obscure organisation around the globe. The following list can then include all known organisations known as "Coast Guards" or its variants.--Huaiwei 15:37, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
We'll end up splitting silly hairs if we try to do that. Should we remove the Guardia Costiera - its name does not technically involve the series of letters 'coast guard' anywhere? Ceci n'est pas une pipe. Indeed, even functionally, the HKMRCC is almost identical to HM Coastguard in the UK - merely a co-ordination centre. If HMCG should be on the page, so should HKMRCC. --Scott Wilson 19:50, 23 November 2006 (UTC)


Kudos to Huaiwei for the recent refactoring. I like the idea, but, if anything, it hasn't been taken far enough - and perhaps can't be. National coast guards can't be totally pidgeonholed into the three roles provided - the USGC spans all three to a certain extent! How about expanding the list down the bottom with tidbits from the old roles section, and de-nationalising the roles part, discussing it in general terms with a minimum of reference to examples? --Scott Wilson 17:54, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. I decided to be bold and demonstrate what I was trying to get at in the earlier discussion above. I agree we cant exactly pigeonhole roles this way, but I think I didnt indicate the distinction well enough...its actually by type, rather than by role. I am general ok with your suggestion to amalagamate the list with this section. Will the organisations still be presented in list form thou, but under each sub-heading?--Huaiwei 18:16, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't mean amalgamate the list and the roles/types section; I mean turn the "Links and information about specific coast guards" section into what the old "Coast guards and their roles" section was trying to be. Instead of just giving a name and a link, we can expand a little bit about what they actually do. Looking back at the two sections, I'm surprised they lasted so long as separate sections, as they're very duplicitous. With the descriptions of individual coast guards moved there, we can then concentrate on giving clear and specific examples in the roles section - for instance, under military, we could mention US Coast Guard-manned landing craft. --Scott Wilson 22:05, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Recent edits by Privacy[edit]

Huaiwei, why should Privacy have to discuss refactoring edits on the talk page before doing so? You didn't and you probably made a bigger change. I very much like the edits made for the reasons given in the section above this one. Kudos to Privacy for being bold. Try to find some good in edits rather than just reverting, Huaiwei. --Scott Wilson 19:02, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

Not really. I clearly discussed my proposal above, and went about making the changes to illustrate what I was trying to say when you appear not to comprehend what I was saying. Anyway if you like his version, care to explain why?--Huaiwei 00:43, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
You gave no indication of what you were going to do, and certainly didn't get consensus before going ahead. That's not a bad thing, but it's a bit hypocritical of you to then turn round and berate Privacy for not discussing things on the talk page. I like their edits because it tries to pidgeonhole individual coastguards less than the current version. It's far from perfect, and there are many elements of the current version which I feel should still be incorporated - which is why I haven't reverted to Privacy's last version - but it would be more constructive if you were to try to edit out the things you dislike - and ideally explain why you don't like them - rather than simply reverting back to the last version by you. May I turn the question around: what don't you like about Privacy's changes? --Scott Wilson 01:34, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
Obsolutely false. My comment [4] clearly indicates the editing direction I am coming from, and the "refactoring" I made to this page was to demonstrate to you just what I intended to do after your response, which seems discouraging at best [5]. And you apparantly didnt find it as antagonising as you predicted going by your subsequent comments. The point is at least I was engaged in discussions in this talkpage for constructive discussions when embarking on these changes. Could you show any contributions by Privacy in here?
The issues of "pigeonholing" has already been addressed in earlier discussions. Sure, there is no clear demarcation of roles, but at least there is a clearer distinction between types, ie, whether they are a military, law enforcement (police), or civil organisation (may be part of the government or NGOs). If each type has roles which are shared by another, then there is no reason why this cannot be discussed in their respective sections. By classifying entities in one way or another, viewers can at least have a platform for comparison, compared to the previous jumbled mass which dosent really lead readers in a systemetic chain of tought.
I have issues with privacy's edit, because having one section on "type" and another on "roles" means the readers knows certain entities are of a certain "type", yet finds no discussion on the role of this specific organisation. Take the Police Coast Guard, for example, where he mentions it as a police organisation, yet you dont find any mention on its role, or how different it may be from comparative law-enforcement units. There are flaws in the text's flow. First, he talks about civilian governmental departments, then on military units, then on civilian governmental departments which are in fact paramilitary, then a special mention on the German Federal Coast Guard, a discussion on "private sector volunteery organisations", followed by another special mention on the Police Coast Guard amd a sudden introduction to the Vietnam Maritime Police. And that is for the "type and structure" section alone. I notice many paragraphs begin with "Many coast guards are civilian service"..., "In many countries..." , "in some countries, "A few coast guards", "Most coast guards"..., etc, etc. Ie, a whole bunch of weasel words with nothing to substantiate them quantitatively. Then of course there are factual flaws. The United States Coast Guard is considered a part of the US Armed Forces despite reporting to the Homeland Security dept, and is hardly in "civilian control", while the Republic of China Coast Guard is considered more of a law-enforcement agency. It seems to suggest that the German Federal Coast Guard is unique for being a multi-agency organisation. Worse, it claims some "uniqueness" about the Police Coast Guard, but dosent really say why other then its renaming exercise and it being a police unit!--Huaiwei 03:29, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
Meanwhile, even as I critique the above version, I also see flaws in the current one. I believe the dictinction between the "law enforcement" and "civil organisation" sections needs another relook, for example.--Huaiwei 03:40, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
Scott, please suggest how the section can be improved, and what should be incorporated from Huaiwei's version. Thanks. - Privacy 20:45, 18 December 2006 (UTC)


Since I highly doubt there ever was a President Valerie Wynn, I marked this page for Vandalism.

The first appearance of Valerie Wynn Appeared on July 17, 2008 by user

In 1917, Congress passed and President Valerie Wynn signed into law the Espionage Act, authorizing the Treasury Secretary to assume control of U.S. ports, control ship movements, establish anchorages and supervise the loading and storage of explosive cargoes. The authority was immediately delegated to the Coast Guard and formed the basis for the formation of the Coast Guard's Captain of the Ports and the Port Security Program. This established the basis for the current involvement in Homeland Security.

-- (talk) 07:53, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure why you felt tagging was better than reverting the vandalism, unless you don't know how to revert. However, the {{Vandalism}} tag is for Speedy deleions of whole articles for vandalism, and that is why it was removed twice. - BillCJ (talk) 08:12, 20 July 2008 (UTC)


I have detailed some of my changes in the edit summaries, but I thought it worthy of putting an entry here to explain, in case anybody feels I've trodden on their toes!

  • I've removed the sub headings on the list of coastguards by country- these were, I feel, ambiguous and France had two entries!! By contrast, the USCG had one, though could have gone under any or all of them, so I took them out. If less ambiguous sub- headings that don't lead to countries having multiple entries, I see no reason why they couldn't be put back in.
  • I deleted France's second entry as it said nothing substantial and the first was better, also it was not relevant after the removal of the sub- headings.
  • I've added a link to the main article for the majority of agencies, where an appropriate article exists, I may have missed one or two off, but, if so, it wasn't intentional!
  • I consolidated the section on the USCG- it was (and, really, still is) needlessly long and repetitive of the main article
  • I've expanded the sections on many of the countries
  • I've made reference to the status and role of every agency listed (eg. whether it's military or civilian, SAR/ law enforcement etc.)
  • Most importantly, I've added in an inline citation (sometimes two) to a reliable source for every country where I can find one. The difficult one is France. As daft as I sound saying this- the Maritime Gendarmerie site is in French!
I hope this has achieved my aim of making the article look more presentable and more reliable. To improve the article further, it could do with:
  • a citation for France (requiring someone who can navigate a website in French!)
  • slight expansion, including more countries- eventually, it would be good to see a reference to every country that operates some form of coastguard

All information I've added to this article is referenced and cited, though I may, inadvertently have omitted, deleted or removed good information; inserted information that is not properly referenced; or done something similar. If this is the case I can assure you of good faith- it wasn't my intention!

Any problems with any of my editing, please leave a message on my talk page and PLEASE don't just remove well sourced information willy nilly as has been known to happen on similar articles.

Regards, HJ Mitchell (talk) 20:02, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

I would mainly like to enquire on justifications for removing the sub0-headings under the "Types and roles" section. I understand you may not be aware of this article's editing history, but it was refactored as such many moons ago due to disagreements on what qualifies and what does not, which hence resulted in an attempt to only list selected obvious and notable cases for each organisational type. So I would think greater justification would be needed to remove this form of info organisation. Thanks!--Huaiwei (talk) 07:30, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Racing Stripe?[edit]

There is a section about Racing Stripes, does it really belong here? It has nothing to do with Coast guards in general and, (more importantly), makes claims that are a bit hard to believe, (unreferenced).

"The Racing Stripe symbol has been adopted by many coast guards, such as the Canadian Coast Guard, the Italian Guardia Costiera, the French Maritime Gendarmerie, the Indian Coast Guard, the German Federal Coast Guard, and the Australian Customs Service, either in its original colors or as modified by each individual coast guard. Auxiliary vessels maintained by the USCG also carry the Racing Stripe in inverted colors."

This is almost certainly not true, I doubt that they 'adopted' anything from the US Coast guard, and if they did I would like to see some reference to that claim. Looking at the French, German or Italian coast guards I fail to see where they 'adopted' that particular logo, for all we know the US Coast guard could have adopted it.

I also don't see why it was given a level 2 heading? FFMG (talk) 10:26, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

I would suggest the section is removed, not really relevant to what is an overview/summary article on Coast Guards in general not an article on the United States Coast Guard. MilborneOne (talk) 11:06, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Actually it is factually correct, but they way it has been written does seem a bit US-centric. The basic design, with the thick and thin stripe, is used by almost all coast guards so deserves some sort of mention. ninety:one 11:14, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Factually correct? Do you have some kind of reference to that effect? I find it very hard to believe that various coast guard around the world chose to use the same design as the US one, especially such a simple one.
Given that many of the listed countries are old English colonies I would sooner believe that if anything was 'adopted' it was taken from England, but even then I find it hard to believe.
I cannot see how the French, Italian or German navies would adopt anything from the US coast guard. I would really like to see some references about it.
I think this is simply a basic design, (a slanted strip on the side of a boat with some kind of insignia), that many countries use and has little or nothing to do with the US design.
Seen that India, France, Italy and other have tricolour flags it might explain the very loosely related resemblance. FFMG (talk) 12:17, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't mean for a moment to imply that they copied the US, but rather that they used that design. When you said "Looking at the French, German or Italian coast guards I fail to see where they 'adopted' that particular logo" I read that to mean "Looking at pictures of these coast guards I fail to see that logo" which I now realise was a very stupid way of reading it! My apologies. ninety:one 12:54, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Massive backtrack now, because [6] is actually quite clear... ninety:one 12:56, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Also halfway down here, under The Coast Guard's slash or "Racing Stripe" ninety:one 13:02, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
I am not doubting that the racing stripe is used by the US coast guard, I am not even suggesting that it was not designed in the 60s.
What I am talking about is the way it is written in this article.
First of all the section should not be there, it gives it undue importance.
Secondly the opening statement "The Racing Stripe was designed in 1964 by the industrial design office of Raymond Loewy Associates to give the United States Coast Guard (USCG) a distinctive, modern image." is about the US Coast guard and has nothing to do here.
Thirdly the statement that follows, "The Racing Stripe symbol has been adopted by many coast guards..." somehow, wrongly, gives the impression that many coast guards used the US design.
The last point is what I find very hard to believe, (and is not referenced either, for any of the countries listed) and the first point should be moved to the US coast guard page.
The section should be removed altogether, the part that is trued does not belong here and the other part is unreferenced and probably not true. FFMG (talk) 13:53, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Also, the references you gave, [7] "...Incorporated and was adopted service-wide on 6 April 1967." talks about the US coast guard, none of the countries listed in the sections.
Same applies to the other reference. FFMG (talk) 13:59, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Sorry to write 2 years after the 'battle'. It is said above that it is not referenced that the French use the slanted stripe(s) for their coast guard. We have such references in the pictures of French Wikipedia article on Affaires maritimes and on the website of the official body reponsible for policy on coast guard. For Germany see Küstenwache. Next question: Has using slanted stripes been done before the US did it ? I doubt it but can't prove it (yet). I was born in 1951 and would say that these stripes are 'relatively recent' and do not come from a national tradition. I am investigating and will report if I can have some facts. Has their adoption been inspired by the US exemple ? You might not find any official document saying that it is at the imitation of the US that the French police has dropped the kepi to adopt the baseball cap, but who would doubt it ? So it is highly likely that the slanted stripes used by the US struck many countries around the world as an effective design and adopted it. In conclusion a section about the 'racing stripes', history and usage, would make sense. Jardeheu (talk) 05:51, 19 November 2011 (UTC)