The United States Coast Guard (USCG) describes itself as “America’s maritime first responder.” Although officially one of the now six branches of the American military, the Coast Guard is a unique organization, being tasked not only with conducting military operations, but also with policing and conducting rescue operations in both national and international waters.
The branch is one of the oldest of its kind in the world, tracing its roots all the way back to 1790, when Congress created the so-called Revenue-Marine, then a sorts of custom enforcement service. In 1894 it became United States Revenue Cutter Service, but it was only in 1918 when the organization’s merger with the United States Life-Saving Service (tasked with saving shipwrecked people at sea) created the USCG.
According to official data, the military branch now consists of around 50,000 members, who operate a tremendous arsenal of hardware: “259 Cutters, 200 fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, and over 1,600 boats,” according to the latest USCG count.
The same data shows that work for the Coast Guard never ends. The average daily numbers (yes, daily) point to these forces being responsible for 42 search and rescue operations, 133 waterborne patrols, 13 security boardings, and the saving of $114,000 in property and about 12 lives.
Such incredible statistics would not be achievable without proper training, and the video below shows just how grueling this can be at times. The clip was posted in mid-July by Military in Action, and was shot by Patrick Seebald and Erik Swanson from the USCG Station Bodega Bay.
The 13-minute video shows what the Coast Guard calls heavy weather boat training, procedures meant to teach the branch’s members how to conduct operations in rough seas. We are not being told what kind of ships and how many personnel took part in the exercise, but we do know this is how awesome must look like in action.