How Do I Become a Coast Guard Reservist?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2019
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Coast guards patrol coastal waters and prevent criminals or trespassers from straying into sovereign territory. Additionally, coast guards and reservists also act as first responders and assist individuals and groups of people who become involved in accidents while at sea. Someone wishing to become a coast guard reservist must undergo the same basic training as a full-time member of the coastguard. People employed in these roles have to be physically fit and applicants for some positions must have completed undergraduate college degrees.

Many national governments impose minimum and maximum age limits on coast guard reservists. Additionally, many nations only allow citizens to apply to work as coast guards which means that a non-national wishing to become a coast guard reservist may have to first become a national citizen. As with many employers, coast guard recruiting offices conduct criminal background checks and drug tests; people who fail these tests are usually ineligible for the job.


Someone wishing to become a coast guard reservist normally has to enroll in a basic training course that often takes the form of a boot camp. Applicants are required to take part in a series of physical drills involving assault courses and the people who complete these challenges in the fastest times are able to move forward with the training process. Thereafter, applicants usually have to pass aptitude examinations as well as reading and writing tests. People who successfully complete the basic training are offered permanent reservist jobs and are required to attend regularly scheduled training sessions during which they are taught how to use equipment and how to respond to emergencies.

In many instances, coast guard reservists are recruits who are given non-skilled jobs on boats or on-land. Some reservists work as helicopter pilots or in other kinds of specialized roles. While coast guard units provide on-the-job training for these individuals, most units require pilots to have obtained flying licenses prior to joining the coast guard. In some instances, coast guard reservists who pilot aircraft or navigate boats are individuals who were previously employed by the armed services during which time they learned how to control these types of crafts.

An individual wishing to become a coast guard reservist may benefit from enrolling in college language courses because coast guards often have to intercept vessels that are manned by foreign individuals; consequently, some coast guard units actively recruit candidates with second language skills. Additionally, people with college degrees are often able to enroll as officers rather than entry-level coast guards. Nevertheless, an officer overseeing a boat or aircraft crew must have had some prior experience in handling such a craft.


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