When was the Coast Guard established?
The Coast Guard is an amalgamation of five formerly distinct federal services. The following timeline reflects the establishment of those services and when they became part of what is now the United States Coast Guard as well as changes in the organizational structure of the Coast Guard itself.
- 7 August 1789: The service, eventually to be known as the US Lighthouse Service, was established under the control of the Treasury Department (1 Stat. L., 53).
- 4 August 1790: Congress authorized the Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, to create a maritime service to enforce customs laws (1 Stat. L. 145, 175). Alternately known as the system of cutters, Revenue Service, and Revenue-Marine this service would officially be named the Revenue Cutter Service (12 Stat. L., 639) in 1863. This service was placed under the control of the Treasury Department.
- 7 July 1838: Service to provide better security of the lives of passengers on board of vessels propelled in whole or in part by steam is established under the control of the Justice Department (5 Stat. L., 304). This "service" later became the Steamboat Inspection Service.
- 14 August 1848: Congress appropriates funds to pay for life-saving equipment to be used by volunteer organizations (9 Stat. L., 321, 322).
- 30 August 1852: Steamboat Act established Steamboat Inspection Service under the control of the Treasury Department (10 Stat. L., 1852).
- 9 October 1852: The Lighthouse Board, which administered the nation's lighthouse system until 1 July 1910, was organized. "This Board was composed of two officers of the Navy, two officers of the Engineer Corps, and two civilians of high scientific attainments whose services were at the disposal of the President, and an officer of the Navy and of the, Engineers as secretaries. It was empowered under the Secretary of the Treasury to "discharge all the administrative duties" relative to lighthouses and other aids to navigation. The Secretary of the Treasury was president of the Board, and it was authorized to elect a chairman and to divide the coast of the United States into twelve lighthouse districts, to each of which the President was to assign an army or navy officer as lighthouse inspector."
- 18 June 1878: U.S. Life-Saving Service established as a separate agency under the control of the Treasury Department (20 Stat. L., 163).
- 5 July 1884: Bureau of Navigation established under the control of the Treasury Department (23 Stat. L., 118).
- 14 February 1903: Department of Commerce and Labor is created (32 Stat. L., 825). Bureau of Navigation and the Steamship Inspection Service transferred to new department.
- 28 January 1915: President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the "Act to Create the Coast Guard," an act passed by Congress on 20 January, 1915 that combined the Life-Saving Service and Revenue Cutter Service to form the Coast Guard (38 Stat. L., 800).
- 6 April 1917: With the declaration of war against Germany the Coast Guard was transferred by Executive Order to the control of the Navy Department.
- 28 August 1919: Coast Guard reverted to Treasury Department after President Wilson signed Executive Order 3160.
- 30 June 1932: Steamboat Inspection Service and Bureau of Navigation combined to form the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection (47 Stat. L., 415). The new agency remained under Commerce Department control.
- 27 May 1936: Public Law 622 reorganizes and changes the name of the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection Service to Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (49 Stat. L., 1380). The Bureau remained under Commerce Department control.
- 1 July 1939: Lighthouse Service became part of the Coast Guard (53 Stat. L., 1432).
- 1 November 1941: President Roosevelts Executive Order 8929 transferred the Coast Guard to Navy Department control.
- 28 February 1942: Executive Order 9083 transferred Bureau of Marine Inspection temporarily to the Coast Guard under Navy Department control.
- 1 January 1946: In compliance with Executive Order 9666, the Coast Guard returned to Treasury Department control.
- In April 1946 the Coast Guard created the Eastern, Western, and Pacific Area commands to coordinate cases that required the assets of more than one district.
- 16 July 1946: Pursuant to Executive Order 9083 and Reorganization Plan No. 3 the Bureau of Marine Inspection was abolished and became a permanent part of the Coast Guard under Treasury Department control.
- 1 April 1967: Executive Order 167-81 transferred the Coast Guard from the Treasury Department to the newly-formed Department of Transportation.
- In January 1973, the Coast Guard renamed the Eastern and Western areas to the Atlantic and Pacific areas, respectively.
- 1 March 2003, the Coast Guard formally transferred from the Department of Transportation to the newly-created Department of Homeland Security.
- 2004-To create unity of command in America’s ports, better align field command structures, and improve Coast Guard operational effectiveness, Sector Commands will be created throughout the CG by integrating Groups, Marine Safety Offices (MSO), Vessel Traffic Services (VTS), and in some cases, Air Stations. Sector Commands were established by 2006.
Our Coast Guard Members:
Last Name First Name Branch War Lynch John W. Coast Guard WW II Gilman Robert E. Coast Guard WW II Iappini James A. Coast Guard WW II Mac Millan Robert J. Coast Guard WW II Maher John J. Coast Guard WW II Mc Gonagle Hugh E. Coast Guard WW II Mc Phee James W. Coast Guard WW II Olson Earle B. Coast Guard WW II Paradiso Albert W. Coast Guard WW II