Those serving with the US Coast Guard in New York will find themselves stationed at any one of the department’s 21 facilities across the state. These bases and field offices are located near the international border spanning two Great Lakes as well as the Atlantic Ocean, with 11 bases on Long Island alone.
Home of the nation’s most populous city and economic capital, which has also been the site of numerous terrorist plots, the New York-based Coast Guard must fight against international maritime drug smugglers in addition to its anti-terrorism duties. New York’s Coast Guard has two cutters and 86 boats at their disposal. It employs a significant number of auxiliary and enlisted members to advance the Department of Homeland Security’s operations in times of peace, and military operations with the Department of the Navy in times of war.
Preparing to Serve in the Coast Guard: Enlistee or Officer
In addition to thousands of volunteer opportunities with Coast Guard Auxiliary units throughout the state, most Coast Guard careers in New York are held by enlisted members. There are two levels of enlistment, each with its own set of requirements:
Enlisted candidates are expected to have a good personal history record and be between the ages of 17-27. Training for Coast Guard jobs at this level, which support four vital mission areas, begins after the completion of eight weeks of boot camp.
The Coast Guard job requirements for those attempting to enlist at the officer-level mandate having a bachelor degree in any field. Before beginning training for their specific career, prospective officers will need to complete 17 weeks of Officer Candidate School. At this level candidates can state a preference for their career field, which will ultimately be determined by the Coast Guard based on an officer’s demonstrated skills:
- Those with degrees in Computer Science, IT, and Networking may work as Computer Information Specialists
- Intelligence Officers may possess a degree in Technology, Science, or Mathematics
- Degrees in Law can transfer to officer positions as a Coast Guard Lawyer
- Command Staff may hold a degree in Business Management or Public Administration
- Officer Engineering Specialists are found in a variety of fields:
- Mechanical and Electric Engineers
- Civil Engineers
- Software Engineers
- Network Engineers
NY Coast Guard: from One Disaster to the Next
Besides the frequent interdiction of those illegally circumventing the international border and conducting around 2,300 annual search and rescue operations, the New York Coast Guard is there in times of disaster. In recent events this has included the September 11th terrorist attacks and Hurricane Sandy.
Due to the chaos that unfolded on the morning of the 9/11 attacks, the role of New York City-area based Coast Guard units is often overshadowed by the sheer magnitude of the events that took place that day. However at a recent memorial service in Manhattan, people reflected on the Coast Guard’s actions that Tuesday morning of directing one of the largest maritime evacuation operations in world history, as its rescue boats were deployed and Coast Guard Command Staff coordinated area vessels in the evacuation of between 350,000 and 500,000 people from Lower Manhattan. Today the 9/11 attacks have reoriented many of the Coast Guard’s missions, which now place a greater emphasis on homeland security operations.
More recently those serving in New York-based Coast Guard jobs took part in rescue operations following the landfall of Hurricane Sandy. Coordinating with local law enforcement and emergency responder units, the Coast Guard secured adrift watercraft, located dangerous maritime obstructions near busy vessel traffic routes, and served at locations throughout affected areas providing warm meals to residents in need of assistance.