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A Look At America’s Busiest Search & Rescue Station In The Whole U.S. Coast Guard

March 24, 2017

The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service created in 1790 that is unique among the U.S. military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission (with jurisdiction in both domestic and international waters) and a federal regulatory agency mission as part of its mission set.

During peacetime, the Coast Guard operates under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, but could be transfer to the U.S. Navy during wartime by order of the President. It goes without saying that an agency tasked with guarding America’s coasts must be extremely busy all-year round.

However, there’s no station busier than the Coast Guard Station Golden Gate. Located in East Fort Baker under the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge in the town of Sausalito, California, it is one of the Coast Guard’s 19 designated surf stations, with a mission that includes search and rescue, homeland security, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection, and boating safety.

During a typical year, the station prosecutes approximately 450 Search and Rescue cases and over 300 Law Enforcement boardings, with the busiest part of the year occurring from June through September, making station Golden Gate the busiest search and rescue station in the Coast Guard. The unit has an exceptionally large area of responsibility which extends offshore 50 nautical miles from Point Reyes to Point Ano Nuevo, including the Farallon Islands, and inside the bay from Bluff Point to Pier 39 at the San Francisco waterfront.

The ready crew is made up of two fully qualified sections that stand duty opposite each other on a “port and starboard” duty rotation, with support personnel and the command cadre standing duty as needed. Regardless of its high operation tempo, U.S. Coast Guard Station Golden Gate operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and never closes. Semper Paratus indeed!