From five ports across the state, US Coast Guard units based in Rhode Island work every day to protect both sea life and US citizens through the implementation of maritime law, with Providence leading the way as one of the main bases for CG Sector Southeastern New England.
With an annual operating budget of $35.8 million, the Rhode Island Coast Guard is able to conduct life-saving missions, which included 249 search and rescues last year. The Coast Guard in Rhode Island was also responsible for providing $1 million in boating and safety grants for programs throughout the state. When not conducting search and rescue, units can be found training, participating in drug and migrant interdiction, and providing environmental decontamination services.
Requirements Join the Coast Guard in Rhode Island
In Rhode Island, Coast Guard jobs are held mostly by enlistees, with civilians making up about 14 percent of the paid workforce.
Minimum Coast Guard requirements for enlistment stipulate that candidates must be between the ages of 17-27 and have no significant criminal history. At this basic level of enlistment, jobs are focused on mission support, and new recruits will be assigned to a unit for specific Coast Guard training once they complete eight weeks of boot camp.
Having a bachelor’s degree makes one eligible to enlist as an ensign at the officer level. After completing 17 weeks of Officer Candidate School, new officers in training will be assigned job duties based on their preference and specialization. Officer careers and associated bachelor degree programs include:
- Intelligence Officer – Science, Mathematics, Technology
- Computer Specialist – IT, Computer Science, Network Engineering
- Electrical Officer – Electrical Engineering, Systems Engineering
- Legal Officer – Political Science, Law
- Human Resources Officer – Business, Public Administration, Management
- Engineering – Civil Engineering, Marine Engineering
- Environmental Officer – Biology, Marine Biology
Civilians can also apply for Coast Guard jobs as they would in the private sector, with these positions resembling those of their enlisted counterparts. This also means bachelor degrees are required for officer-equivalencies.
A Wide Range of Coast Guard Missions in Rhode Island
By professionally carrying out their duties, Rhode Island Coast Guard personnel ensure missions are successful. Some recent examples of the variety of operations undertaken in Rhode Island include:
A Coast Guard Atlantic Rapid Response Team was recently deployed to sample the waters off Rhode Island for contamination after the state experienced significant flooding. Coast Guard Biologists worked with EPA officials to test for toxic contamination that may have been washed out to sea from flood-damaged containment vessels.
Migrant interdiction patrols off Key West in Florida recently received assistance from a Rhode Island buoy tender, which was dispatched for three weeks from its home station of Newport. The 225-foot cutter demonstrated its many capabilities as it conducted its mission and hosted illegal migrants recovered at sea.
Nine miles south of Newport with their engine room almost completely flooded, three fishermen were forced to make a mayday call, to which the Coast Guard quickly responded by dispatching four of their nearest watercraft that were currently undergoing a training exercise. Twenty minutes after climbing out of the frigid New England waters into their life raft, the men were rescued.