Based out of Burlington, the US Coast Guard in Vermont is primarily responsible for operations conducted on Lake Champlain, a 125-mile long body of water spanning the border with Canada which has a times been used as a conduit for international drug smuggling. Besides this threat, Lake Champlain is also a popular place for maritime boating; an activity that sometimes requires intervention from the Vermont-based Coast Guard. Every year the Coast Guard assists about 1,000 boaters. In the winter, Station Burlington is always on alert to make ice rescues as needed.
Qualifying to Work in Vermont
Those who are interested in upholding the laws of the United States while protecting the natural habitats and people of Vermont should consider the initial Coast Guard job requirements for enlisting.
In Vermont, Coast Guard jobs are for the most part entrusted to enlisted members. These service men and women have committed themselves for at least four years at one of two levels of enlistment: basic or officer.
Basic Enlistee – Coast Guard requirements to enlist as a basic service member include having no criminal record and being between the ages of 17-27. Positions at this level can be divided into four main categories that are critical to mission operations, and new enlistees will receive their career assignment once they complete eight weeks of boot camp.
Ensign Officer – Above basic enlistees are officers. To enlist as an officer, candidates will need to possess a bachelor degree in any subject area. Careers at the officer level are wide ranging and tied to the candidate’s field of expertise. Officer training takes place over the course of 17 weeks spent at the Officer Candidate School, after which time career training commences. Some positions and associated bachelor degrees include:
- Computer Resource Officer – Computer Science, Network Engineering, Information Technology
- Command Staff – Business Administration, Public Administration
- Legal Officer – Law, Political Science
- Engineering Officer – Marine Engineering, Civil Engineering
- Intelligence Officer – Science, Mathematics
- Medical Officer – Medical Sciences
- Environmental Officer – Environmental Sciences, Marine Biology, Micro Biology
Coast Guard Operations in Vermont
With all members performing their jobs competently, the Coast Guard in Vermont is able to accomplish missions such as the following as a united force, exemplifying the day-to-day actions in which enlistees take part:
- Last year the Coast Guard participated in 136 search and rescue missions in Vermont. Recently this included three sailboat passengers, two of whom were ejected from their vessel when the mast struck an object on Lake Champlain. Coast Guard rescue units arrived to find an adult and child holding on to floating debris near their sailboat, who would later make a full recovery.
- A 1,500-foot safety zone was recently enforced around a Lake Champlain bridge that was brought down in a controlled demolition. Coast Guard units coordinated with local law enforcement agencies from both Vermont and New York to ensure maritime traffic remained clear of the area. Safety zones can be implemented for a variety of reasons, usually for protection of the public.
- When a Vermont ferry struck a pier during a transit between Grand Isle and Plattsburgh, injuring three passengers, the Coast Guard dispatched investigators to the scene of the accident. They came with two primary missions: to ensure safety measures were in place to prevent future accidents and to take water samples to confirm there was no environmental damage caused by leaking fuel or oil tanks.