With three cutters, 34 boats, and five aircraft, the US Coast Guard based out of its seven locations in Georgia is at a constant state of alertness – fortunately for those who need rescuing, and unfortunately for those trying to smuggle drugs, weapons, and people illegally into the country via the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to fielding Coast Guard units by sea and air, Georgia is also home to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco where Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) Special Agents receive their training. Last year the Coast Guard’s operating budget in Georgia totaled nearly $52 million, going towards the funding of operations, training, and the salaries of:
- 535 active military employees
- 133 reserve military employees
- 18 civilians
Career and Training Options
Candidates applying to the Coast Guard with a bachelor degree are eligible to enter at the rank of ensign and obtain officer positions. As part of Coast Guard requirements, prospective officers must first complete 17 weeks of Officer Candidate School before they may begin work in a career that compliments their degree, such as:
- Legal career in environmental or maritime law for those with a law degree
- Engineering Officer for those with an engineering degree
- Pilot for those with a BS in Science and Aviation
- Human Resources Officer for those with a business degree
- Intelligence Officer for those with a degree in technology or mathematics
- Software Engineering Officer for those holing a degree in IT or computer science
Those interested in civilian Coast Guard jobs in Georgia can apply in mostly the same way they would for a job in the privates sector. There is no training camp for civilians although they do participate in an orientation process specific to their job. Civilian jobs often mirror those of enlistees, and those pursuing more advanced positions, like their officer counterparts, will need to have a bachelor degree. Reservists can be considered as part-time enlistees, though they still must complete certain Coast Guard requirements that include either basic or officer training.
Most Coast Guard jobs in Georgia are held by active military enlistees. Career-focused education for Coast Guard jobs as a basic enlistee commences after the completion of eight weeks of basic training. With no higher education, those who are accepted can expect to find a variety of positions in four categories:
- Deck and ordinance
- Hull and engineering
- Scientific and administrative
SAR Missions an Important Duty in Georgia
In 2013, Georgia-based US Coast Guard units participated in 415 search and rescue operations. These included:
- A rescue helicopter was dispatched from Air Station Savannah to search for two men whose fishing boat had run aground on Jekyll Island. The helicopter was able to evacuate the two men to a nearby hospital.
- A recent rescue 14 miles off of Cumberland Island, saving the lives of four fishermen whose vessel had capsized. One of the men activated a radio beacon on which the Coast Guard was able to hone in.
- Four other boaters recently rescued near Wassaw Sound thanks to the coordinated efforts from an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter dispatched from Air Station Savannah and a 25-foot rescue boat launched from Coast Guard Station Tybee Island. The passengers began to sense danger when their boat lost power and its anchor broke off, prompting a call for help.