The Coast Guard uses its annual operating budget of $169.5 million in Louisiana to support 1,762 personnel who make operations possible at 14 bases throughout the state. Missions are focused on maritime law enforcement and protection, which each year includes more than 2,000 search and rescues plus the inspection of more than 483,000 tons of waterborne commerce.
Crews are ready 24 hours a day for deployment in the four cutters, 53 boats, and three aircraft strategically located across the state. Preparing to excel in US Coast Guard jobs based in Louisiana can be as simple as being a good citizen, with more advanced careers available to those with higher qualifications.
Meeting Coast Guard Requirements in Louisiana
Officers – Enlistment can also be done at the officer level, and Coast Guard requirements for this include having a bachelor degree in any field. Coast Guard careers are matched with an officer’s demonstrated abilities, and the following degrees often cross over to associated employment:
- Civil Engineering Officer – Civil Engineering
- Intelligence Officer – Mathematics, Engineering, Science
- Telecommunications Officer – Telecommunication Engineering, IT, Computer Science
- Coast Guard Law Officer – Law, Government, Political Science
- Pilot – Sciences and Aviation
- Environmental Science Officer – Biology, Chemistry, Marine Science
To become an officer in the Coast Guard based in Louisiana, candidates will first need to complete the 17-week Officer Candidate School (OCS). Military reservists – last year numbering 218 – are also accepted into the enlisted ranks on a part-time basis and will still need to complete either boot camp or the OCS. Last year the base in Louisiana supported 218 civilian Coast Guard jobs. These members will complete a job-specific orientation for positions closely resembling both basic and officer-level Coast Guard careers, which accordingly may also require at least a four-year degree.
Enlistees – Preparing to meet US Coast Guard job requirements in Louisiana can be as simple as basic enlistment, with eligibility for candidates who are between the ages of 17-27 and have no significant criminal background. Last year most of the state’s Coast Guard employees – 1,325 – were active-duty enlisted members. There are many operational careers held by basic enlistees, ranging from gunner’s mate and maritime enforcement specialist to yeoman, to name a few. Training for these Coast Guard careers begins after the completion of a basic eight-week boot camp.
The Coast Guard’s Participation in Recent Large-Scale Disasters
The Coast Guard played critical roles in two significant disasters that recently struck the country, and particularly Louisiana: Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill:
- Coast Guard units saved 24,136 lives during Hurricane Katrina and evacuated 9,409 hospital patients. Flight crews of several HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopters based from USCG Air Station New Orleans remember this period vividly as rescue divers were lowered into flooded sectors of the city to secure residents in rescue baskets before being lifted to safety for air transport.
- Immediately after the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, Coast Guard units based in Louisiana contributed to a rescue response that included:
- Nine rescue helicopters
- One HC-144 Guardian airplane
- Four Coast Guard cutters
After all resulting medical issues were addressed the Coast Guard also played a critical role directing and coordinating response, recovery, and cleanup efforts.
- In a recent exercise, Louisiana Coast Guard units partnered with local emergency responders along with the oil prospecting industry to conduct a training exercise in Lafayette. The scenario was a rehearsal of evacuation procedures in a worst-case oil spill.