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Members of the 349th Air Mobility Wing and 312th Airlift Squadron work with U.S. Coast Guard personnel to load and unload 25-foot (8 meter) Defender Class Response Boats Small (RB-S) aboard a C-5M Super Galaxy at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. (USAF Photo by Lt. Col. Robert Cousebaker)
Members of the 349th Air Mobility Wing and 312th Airlift Squadron work with U.S. Coast Guard personnel to load and unload 25-foot (8 meter) Defender Class Response Boats Small (RB-S) aboard a C-5M Super Galaxy at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. (USAF Photo by Lt. Col. Robert Cousebaker)
Boarding team members, aboard a cutter boat-small, depart the Coast Guard Cutter Sequoia en route to a fishing vessel in the Pacific Ocean in order to conduct an at-sea boarding. The Sequoia crew recently returned from a 30-day deployment to promote regulatory compliance of the $7 billion tuna fishing industry in remote areas within Oceania. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Melissa McKenzie)
Boarding team members, aboard a cutter boat-small, depart the Coast Guard Cutter Sequoia en route to a fishing vessel in the Pacific Ocean in order to conduct an at-sea boarding. The Sequoia crew recently returned from a 30-day deployment to promote regulatory compliance of the $7 billion tuna fishing industry in... ...More
A 2nd Class Petty Officer attached to Port Security Unit 313 in Everett, Wash., reviews chart-plotting and basic navigation with port facility security personnel as part of a course in international ship and port security code.  (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas M. Blue)
A 2nd Class Petty Officer attached to Port Security Unit 313 in Everett, Wash., reviews chart-plotting and basic navigation with port facility security personnel as part of a course in international ship and port security code. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas M. Blue)
A Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team crew, temporarily deployed from San Francisco, provides an escort for the USS Cole as the Navy destroyer returns to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Coast Guard crews worked to provide security zones for the Navy ships returning to harbor after Hurricane Irene. (U.S Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class David Weydert)
A Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team crew, temporarily deployed from San Francisco, provides an escort for the USS Cole as the Navy destroyer returns to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Coast Guard crews worked to provide security zones for the Navy ships returning to harbor after Hurricane Irene. (U.S Coast... ...More
Members of Coast Guard Port Security Unit 311 based in San Pedro, conducted a military training exercise in the Port of Los Angeles. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrea Anderson)
Members of Coast Guard Port Security Unit 311 based in San Pedro, conducted a military training exercise in the Port of Los Angeles. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrea Anderson)
The Commander of the Coast Guard 13th District and the Governor of Washington at a news conference announcing the FEMA-led Cascadia Rising exercise. Cascadia Rising is a four-day FEMA led exercise held to test the capabilities of federal, tribal, state, local governments and private sector emergency response operations. (U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrea Anderson)
The Commander of the Coast Guard 13th District and the Governor of Washington at a news conference announcing the FEMA-led Cascadia Rising exercise. Cascadia Rising is a four-day FEMA led exercise held to test the capabilities of federal, tribal, state, local governments and private sector emergency response... ...More
Coast Guard incident leaders discuss response plans at the incident command center. Coast Guard personnel are gathering information and initial damage reports from agency partners concerning Hurricane Katrina.  (U.S Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Reed)
Coast Guard incident leaders discuss response plans at the incident command center. Coast Guard personnel are gathering information and initial damage reports from agency partners concerning Hurricane Katrina. (U.S Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Reed)
A Marine Science Technician with the Pacific Strike Team, takes a sample near a damaged tank that leaked during Hurricane Sandy at the Motiva Terminal in Sewaren, N.J. Responders are working to remove contained pockets of oil that leaked from the facility during Hurricane Sandy utilizing skimmers, vacuum trucks, absorbent pads and boom. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jaclyn Young)
A Marine Science Technician with the Pacific Strike Team, takes a sample near a damaged tank that leaked during Hurricane Sandy at the Motiva Terminal in Sewaren, N.J. Responders are working to remove contained pockets of oil that leaked from the facility during Hurricane Sandy utilizing skimmers, vacuum trucks,... ...More
A lead marine inspector from Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, in
Philadelphia, inspects the Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier at the Balzano
Marine Terminal in Camden, N.J. The Coast Guard regularly inspects domestic
and foreign vessels to facilitate secure maritime trade. (U.S. Coast Guard
photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cynthia Oldham)
A lead marine inspector from Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, in Philadelphia, inspects the Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier at the Balzano Marine Terminal in Camden, N.J. The Coast Guard regularly inspects domestic and foreign vessels to facilitate secure maritime trade. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd... ...More
A Coast Guard International Port Security team meets with officials from the Republic of the Marshall Islands. This engagement involved sharing best practices and visiting with the Secretary of Transportation and Communication to observe the implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code at two port facilities in Majuro. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Activities Far East)
A Coast Guard International Port Security team meets with officials from the Republic of the Marshall Islands. This engagement involved sharing best practices and visiting with the Secretary of Transportation and Communication to observe the implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code at... ...More
One of hundreds of Army trucks that will be loaded onto the USNS Medonca gets a close look by Coast Guard Petty Officers  after a possible hazardous materials leak is detected during their routine inspection of the many vehicles. (USCG photo by PA2 Danielle DeMarino)
One of hundreds of Army trucks that will be loaded onto the USNS Medonca gets a close look by Coast Guard Petty Officers after a possible hazardous materials leak is detected during their routine inspection of the many vehicles. (USCG photo by PA2 Danielle DeMarino)
The catch from a lancha interdicted near the U.S./Mexico maritime border is
documented after the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter stopped one of five
lanchas sighted fishing illegally in U.S. waters. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
The catch from a lancha interdicted near the U.S./Mexico maritime border is documented after the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter stopped one of five lanchas sighted fishing illegally in U.S. waters. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
Members of the 349th Air Mobility Wing and 312th Airlift Squadron work with U.S. Coast Guard personnel to load and unload 25-foot (8 meter) Defender Class Response Boats Small (RB-S) aboard a C-5M Super Galaxy at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. (USAF Photo by Lt. Col. Robert Cousebaker)
Boarding team members, aboard a cutter boat-small, depart the Coast Guard Cutter Sequoia en route to a fishing vessel in the Pacific Ocean in order to conduct an at-sea boarding. The Sequoia crew recently returned from a 30-day deployment to promote regulatory compliance of the $7 billion tuna fishing industry in remote areas within Oceania. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Melissa McKenzie)
A 2nd Class Petty Officer attached to Port Security Unit 313 in Everett, Wash., reviews chart-plotting and basic navigation with port facility security personnel as part of a course in international ship and port security code.  (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas M. Blue)
A Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team crew, temporarily deployed from San Francisco, provides an escort for the USS Cole as the Navy destroyer returns to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Coast Guard crews worked to provide security zones for the Navy ships returning to harbor after Hurricane Irene. (U.S Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class David Weydert)
Members of Coast Guard Port Security Unit 311 based in San Pedro, conducted a military training exercise in the Port of Los Angeles. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrea Anderson)
The Commander of the Coast Guard 13th District and the Governor of Washington at a news conference announcing the FEMA-led Cascadia Rising exercise. Cascadia Rising is a four-day FEMA led exercise held to test the capabilities of federal, tribal, state, local governments and private sector emergency response operations. (U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrea Anderson)
Coast Guard incident leaders discuss response plans at the incident command center. Coast Guard personnel are gathering information and initial damage reports from agency partners concerning Hurricane Katrina.  (U.S Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Reed)
A Marine Science Technician with the Pacific Strike Team, takes a sample near a damaged tank that leaked during Hurricane Sandy at the Motiva Terminal in Sewaren, N.J. Responders are working to remove contained pockets of oil that leaked from the facility during Hurricane Sandy utilizing skimmers, vacuum trucks, absorbent pads and boom. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jaclyn Young)
A lead marine inspector from Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, in
Philadelphia, inspects the Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier at the Balzano
Marine Terminal in Camden, N.J. The Coast Guard regularly inspects domestic
and foreign vessels to facilitate secure maritime trade. (U.S. Coast Guard
photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cynthia Oldham)
A Coast Guard International Port Security team meets with officials from the Republic of the Marshall Islands. This engagement involved sharing best practices and visiting with the Secretary of Transportation and Communication to observe the implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code at two port facilities in Majuro. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Activities Far East)
One of hundreds of Army trucks that will be loaded onto the USNS Medonca gets a close look by Coast Guard Petty Officers  after a possible hazardous materials leak is detected during their routine inspection of the many vehicles. (USCG photo by PA2 Danielle DeMarino)
The catch from a lancha interdicted near the U.S./Mexico maritime border is
documented after the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter stopped one of five
lanchas sighted fishing illegally in U.S. waters. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Authorities

The Coast Guard's broad legal authorities associated with maritime transportation, hazardous materials shipping, bridge administration, oil spill response, pilotage, and vessel construction and operation are listed below.

  • Military Service

    The Coast Guard is a military service and a branch of the armed forces at all times. 14 U.S.C. § 1.

  • Vessel Boardings

    The Coast Guard may board any vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, whether on the high seas, or on waters over which the United States has jurisdiction, to make inquiries, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests for the prevention, detection, and suppression of violations of U.S. laws. 14 U.S.C. § 89.

  • Navigation Safety

    The Coast Guard maintains broad authority over navigation safety in the navigable waters of the United States, including the ability to order vessels to operate as directed. 33 U.S.C. § 1223.

  • Naval Safety and Security

    The Coast Guard can control the anchorage and movement of vessels in the navigable waters of the United States to ensure the safety and security of U.S. naval vessels. 14 U.S.C. § 91.

  • Waterway Security

    When the President determines that U.S. national security is endangered, the Coast Guard may enforce regulations concerning the movement or anchorage of vessels within U.S. territorial waters, including vessel seizure and forfeiture, and may fine and imprison the master and crew for noncompliance. 50 U.S.C. § 191.

  • Assistance

    The Coast Guard may use its personnel and facilities to assist federal, state, and local agencies when Coast Guard assets are especially qualified to perform a particular activity. 14 U.S.C. § 141.

  • Pollution Response

    The Coast Guard may respond to discharges or threats of discharges of oil and hazardous substances into the navigable waters of the United States and promulgate certain pollution prevention regulations. 33 U.S.C. § 1321.

  • Vessel Inspections

    The Coast Guard prescribes regulations for the inspection and certification of vessels. 46 U.S.C. § 3306.

  • Customs

    The Coast Guard has the authority to enforce customs laws, including anti-smuggling regulations. U.S.C. Title 19.

  • Maritime Security

    The Coast Guard has a key role in preventing maritime transportation security incidents, which includes the implementation of international security standards. 46 U.S.C. VII.

  • Transportation

    The Coast Guard regulates hazardous materials in commerce. U.S.C. Title 49.

  • Intelligence Community

    The Coast Guard is a member of the intelligence community. U.S.C. Title 50.

  • Living Natural Resources

    The Coast Guard safeguards fisheries and marine protected resources by enforcing living natural resource authorities like the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act 16 U.S.C. § 1801, the Lacey Act 16 U.S.C. §§ 3371-3378, the Endangered Species Act 16 U.S.C. §§ 1531-1544, and the National Marine Sanctuaries Act 16 U.S.C. §§ 1431-1445. Additionally, the Coast Guard is often the best equipped to assist natural resource agencies with conservation responses to episodic events such as strandings and entanglements.