Today the Coast Guard Auxiliary celebrates its proud history of outstanding volunteer service on America’s waterways, turning 79 years young…and its members show no signs of slowing down.
Auxiliarists have supported Coast Guard missions along our nation’s coasts and inland waters, with emphasis on the promotion of recreational boating safety, since June 23, 1939, when Congress authorized the formation of the Coast Guard’s “Volunteer Reserve.” The subsequent passage of the Auxiliary and Reserve Act of 1941 created the Coast Guard Reserve as a military branch while its civilian Auxiliary was ratified under Title 14, Chapter 23 of the United States Code.
The Auxiliary is composed of uniformed volunteers who donate their time, skills, and expertise from a wealth of career fields. They also offer their personally owned boats, planes, and radios to support Coast Guard missions. Last year, this support propelled Auxiliarists to save over 155 lives, assist over 4,500 people and $19 million in property, and log more than 3.7 million hours of activity.
Last year also marked the 70th anniversary of the Auxiliary’s provision of free vessel safety checks to the recreational boating public. This Auxiliary cornerstone mission significantly helps prevent boating accidents through direct on-the-boat education and checks for compliance with applicable federal and state boating safety requirements. The Auxiliary augments that effort through its public education and outreach activities. In 2017, the Auxiliary conducted over 126,000 vessel safety checks, over 94,000 informative visits to recreational boating dealers, stores, and partners, and over 10,900 boating safety class sessions.