The Coast Guard’s Massachusetts fleet is one of the largest in the nation with 67 boats, 10 cutters and seven aircraft based throughout 16 stations. Among these is Air Station Cape Cod, the only Coast Guard air facility in the northeast which therefore receives plenty of calls when air support or rescue is needed. Last year Massachusetts Coast Guard units participated in 2,815 search and rescue missions, saving countless numbers of lives. In addition to high profile rescues, the Coast Guard also participates in lesser-known activities such as wildlife rescue and environmental cleanup.
Coast Guard Careers and Training in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, Coast Guard jobs are divided among enlistees numbering over 2,200 and civilian Coast Guard jobs totaling 306. Enlisting can be done at two basic levels which both usually require at least a four-year commitment: basic and officer.
Candidates who meet Coast Guard requirements such as being at least 17 years old without a significant criminal record can qualify for entry-level enlisted positions, which are determined according to skill. However before unit-based training for these Coast Guard careers begins, new recruits will need to complete eight weeks of basic training. These non-officer positions fall into four main categories:
- Ordinance and deck
- Engineering and hull
- Scientific and administrative
Candidates can qualify for enlisted officer positions if they have a bachelor degree. Careers are determined according to skill, with some of the following associations:
- Human Resources Officer for candidates with a degree in Business or Management
- Network Technician Specialist for candidates with a degree in IT, Computer Science, or Network Engineering
- Pilot for candidates possessing a degree in Science and Aviation
- Intelligence Officer for candidates with a degree in Mathematics or Technology
- Law for candidates with a Law or Political Science degree
Before enlisting as officers, candidates will need to complete 17 weeks of Officer Candidate School. Civilian employees, on the other hand, only need to complete a job-specific orientation process and will find they qualify for many similar career fields as officers if they possess a related bachelor degree.
Coast Guard Missions in Massachusetts
What’s next after completing initial training for Coast Guard careers in Massachusetts? This is the question many ask themselves when considering what actually goes on in the day to day. Each enlisted or civilian employee plays his or her vital role to make the following recent Massachusetts missions possible:
- Recently on the high seas about 460 miles east of Cape Cod, a team of seven Coast Guard sailors boarded and searched a sailboat with two passengers bound for Canada. Officers found what they described as brick-shaped objects wrapped in plastic, in what would turn out to be one of the largest busts for that region ever, with $20 million in cocaine discovered. The operation was conducted in cooperation with the Canadian government, the DEA, and Massachusetts State Police.
- Coast Guard Toxicologists, Chemists and Investigators recently responded to contain a diesel fuel spill in New Bedford Harbor. 150 feet of boom was deployed followed by absorbent pads to clean up an estimated 500 gallons of fuel, as investigators tried to determine the source of the spill.
- A rescue crew was recently deployed from Coast Guard Provincetown Station in response to reports of a sea turtle entangled in lobster nets. Within 20 minutes of their arrival Coast Guard units had managed to untangle the leatherback turtle. Wildlife preservation and protection is one of the missions of the Massachusetts-based Coast Guard.