Coast Guard Service Member Job Description [Updated for 2024]

coast guard service member job description

In an era of heightened maritime security, the focus on Coast Guard Service Members has never been more important.

As maritime challenges evolve, so does the need for individuals who can navigate, defend, and uphold our nation’s waters.

But let’s unpack this further: What is truly expected from a Coast Guard Service Member?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker trying to understand the core of this role,
  • A hiring officer defining the perfect candidate,
  • Or simply intrigued by the responsibilities of a Coast Guard Service Member,

You’re in the right place.

Today, we present a customizable Coast Guard Service Member job description template, designed for effortless posting on job boards or career sites.

Let’s dive right into it.

Coast Guard Service Member Duties and Responsibilities

Coast Guard Service Members are responsible for safeguarding the maritime interests of a nation and ensuring the security, safety, and stewardship of its waters.

They perform an array of tasks to fulfill their obligations, such as enforcing laws and treaties, performing search and rescue operations, and protecting marine environments.

The duties and responsibilities of a Coast Guard Service Member include:

  • Conducting maritime patrols and enforcing maritime laws and treaties
  • Participating in search and rescue operations
  • Aiding in navigation and providing maritime safety information
  • Inspecting vessels to ensure adherence to safety standards and regulations
  • Performing environmental protection duties, including pollution response and vessel inspections
  • Assisting in disaster response operations and providing emergency aid
  • Training and maintaining proficiency in various military and maritime skills
  • Maintaining operational readiness of vessels and equipment
  • Supporting maritime intelligence activities


Coast Guard Service Member Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are looking for dedicated, brave, and disciplined individuals to join our Coast Guard Service.

The role involves enforcing maritime law, conducting search and rescue operations, maintaining navigational systems, and ensuring the safety of the country’s coasts and waterways.

Our ideal candidate has excellent physical fitness, a strong sense of duty, and the ability to work under high-pressure situations.

Prior experience in the military or law enforcement is advantageous, but not required.



  • Participate in search and rescue operations
  • Enforce maritime laws and regulations
  • Conduct safety inspections on vessels
  • Assist in disaster response efforts
  • Operate and maintain Coast Guard equipment and vehicles
  • Train and supervise junior personnel
  • Collaborate with other branches of the military and law enforcement agencies
  • Attend and complete all required training and education
  • Uphold the values and standards of the Coast Guard at all times



  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Excellent physical condition
  • Ability to pass medical and security background checks
  • Willingness to participate in extensive training
  • Strong swimmer
  • Ability to operate and navigate marine vessels is beneficial
  • Strong communication and leadership skills
  • Ability to work in high-pressure and emergency situations



  • Healthcare benefits including dental and vision
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Tuition assistance for higher education
  • Housing and food allowances
  • Opportunities for career progression and professional development


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Coast Guard Service Member
  • Work Environment: The Coast Guard Service Member may be stationed in various locations, including at sea, depending on assignments. The role may involve working in challenging and high-pressure situations.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the assigned commanding officer.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon pay grade, years of service, and any special skills or qualifications.
  • Location: Various (Depending on assignment)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: The Coast Guard is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate based on race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or disability.
  • Application Instructions: Please visit our official recruitment website to apply and learn more about the recruitment process.


What Does a Coast Guard Service Member Do?

Coast Guard Service Members perform a wide array of duties to ensure the security and safety of the nation’s maritime regions.

They work under the Department of Homeland Security and act as a military force and a maritime law enforcement agency.

One of their primary responsibilities is to carry out search and rescue missions.

They patrol coastlines and respond to emergencies, including capsized ships, lost sailors, and natural disasters that threaten coastal areas.

In addition, they enforce maritime law.

This includes performing vessel inspections, enforcing fishing regulations, preventing smuggling, and deterring unauthorized entry into territorial waters.

Coast Guard Service Members also participate in environmental protection activities.

They respond to oil spills and other maritime pollution incidents, and work to mitigate the impact on the environment.

They are also involved in national defense.

During times of war or at the direction of the President, the Coast Guard serves under the Department of the Navy, participating in combat and defense operations.

Furthermore, Coast Guard Service Members participate in community outreach, providing boating safety education and conducting demonstrations to inform the public about the Coast Guard’s role and activities.

In each of these capacities, Coast Guard Service Members are responsible for ensuring the security, safety, and stewardship of the nation’s waters.


Coast Guard Service Member Qualifications and Skills

A Coast Guard Service Member must possess a unique blend of physical and mental skills, along with a strong understanding of maritime law and regulations, such as:

  • Physical fitness and swimming ability to perform rescue operations and withstand tough weather conditions at sea.
  • Knowledge of maritime law and regulations to enforce federal laws on the high seas, U.S. waters, and in any jurisdictional waters.
  • Sharp observation skills to detect and respond to illegal activity, emergencies, and threats to national security.
  • Strong communication skills to coordinate with team members during missions and to communicate effectively with the public or other agencies when necessary.
  • Ability to operate and maintain Coast Guard equipment, including boats, helicopters, and communication systems.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills to make quick, effective decisions in emergency situations.
  • Teamwork and leadership skills to work effectively within a hierarchical organization and to lead teams when necessary.
  • Resilience and adaptability to handle the physical and mental stress of dangerous missions and prolonged periods away from home.


Coast Guard Service Member Experience Requirements

To join the Coast Guard as a service member, no specific job-related experience is typically required as the Coast Guard provides comprehensive training upon enlistment.

However, individuals are generally expected to have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Prior military service, particularly in a maritime or aviation role, can be highly valuable and may lead to a higher starting rank.

Similarly, those with relevant civilian experience, such as in law enforcement, emergency services, or maritime industries, may also be eligible for a higher rank.

During their service, Coast Guard members gain on-the-job experience in a wide variety of roles, from operations specialists and damage controlmen to culinary specialists and machinery technicians.

Advanced roles may require specific prior experience within the Coast Guard or in related civilian sectors.

Those with more than 5 years of experience in the Coast Guard often have leadership responsibilities and may be eligible for roles such as petty officers or chiefs.

Many Coast Guard service members also have opportunities to gain advanced technical training or higher education during their service, which can further increase their skills and experience.


Coast Guard Service Member Education and Training Requirements

To become a Coast Guard Service Member, individuals typically require a high school diploma or equivalent.

Some positions within the Coast Guard may require a bachelor’s degree or higher, particularly in fields related to law enforcement, maritime affairs, environmental science, or engineering.

Every recruit must undergo basic training which includes physical fitness, water survival, military customs and courtesies, first aid, practical seamanship, and marksmanship.

This training will provide them with the basic knowledge and skills to perform their duties at sea or on land.

For certain specializations, such as aviation or electronics, advanced training is required.

This involves attending an ‘A’ school where specific job training occurs, lasting anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

Some service members may choose to attend ‘C’ school for advanced training in a specific field or for leadership training.

These are typically more specialized roles and require a higher level of expertise.

Furthermore, officers in the Coast Guard typically hold a bachelor’s degree and must complete Officer Candidate School (OCS).

The OCS is a 17-week course that provides leadership training and a more detailed understanding of the Coast Guard’s missions and operations.

As with any military service, ongoing training is a critical part of a Coast Guard Service Member’s career, ensuring they remain up-to-date with the latest procedures, technologies, and skills necessary for their role.


Coast Guard Service Member Salary Expectations

A Coast Guard Service Member earns an average salary of $47,000 (USD) per year.

However, the actual salary may significantly vary depending on the rank, years of service, education, and location of deployment.

Additionally, members of the Coast Guard also receive allowances, healthcare, retirement, education, and other benefits.


Coast Guard Service Member Job Description FAQs

What skills does a Coast Guard Service Member need?

Coast Guard Service Members should possess strong swimming skills, physical fitness, and the ability to work well under pressure.

They should also have good communication and teamwork skills as they often have to work in a team during missions.

Basic knowledge of maritime laws and navigation is also essential.

Problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making skills are crucial as they often face high-stakes situations.


Do Coast Guard Service Members need a degree?

Most entry-level positions in the Coast Guard do not require a degree, but certain specialized roles or officer positions may require a bachelor’s degree or higher.

All Coast Guard recruits undergo basic training, and depending on their career path, they might need to complete additional specialized training.


What should you look for in a Coast Guard Service Member resume?

In a Coast Guard Service Member’s resume, look for any past military experience or training, as well as certifications for specialized skills like boating operations, maritime law enforcement, or emergency medical procedures.

Skills like physical fitness, swimming ability, and experience with navigation tools are also essential.


What qualities make a good Coast Guard Service Member?

A good Coast Guard Service Member is dedicated, reliable, and capable of performing well under pressure.

They must be physically fit, have excellent problem-solving abilities, and be able to work well as part of a team.

They should also have a strong sense of duty, be ready to serve and protect, and be able to handle challenging and unpredictable situations.


Is it difficult to join the Coast Guard?

Joining the Coast Guard can be challenging due to the physical fitness requirements and the rigorous training program.

The Coast Guard also has strict requirements regarding age, citizenship, criminal records, and education.

However, those who meet these requirements and successfully complete the training are rewarded with a fulfilling and respected career.



And there you have it.

Today, we’ve opened up the world of what it truly means to be a Coast Guard service member.

Surprise, surprise?

It’s not just about patrolling our coastlines.

It’s about safeguarding our nation’s maritime interests, one nautical mile at a time.

With our resourceful Coast Guard service member job description template and real-world instances, you’re all prepared to embark on a new journey.

But why set sail just yet?

Delve deeper with our job description generator. It’s your next beacon for crafting precise job listings or refining your resume to perfection.

Always bear in mind:

Every nautical mile covered is part of a broader mission.

Let’s safeguard our future. Together.

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