How Do I Join the Coast Guard?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2019
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If you would like to join the United States Coast Guard, you must first seek out a recruitment office. Once you have found a coast guard recruiter, you will be required to pass several mental and physical tests by achieving a certain score. Upon being cleared to enlist, you will be required to participate in basic training and successfully complete all aspects of training by completing a final physical agility and swimming test. Upon the satisfactory completion of all coast guard training, testing and physical fitness conditioning, you will be a member of the coast guard's forces and be assigned to a duty station.

The United States Coast Guard is involved in natural disaster, drug traffic enforcement and anti-terrorist patrols on a daily basis. If you wish to join the service in either a full-time or reserve status, you will be required to seek out a recruiter and express your interest in the guard. You will be examined physically to make certain you will be able to withstand the basic training that you will endure, and you will be tested mentally to assess your mental capability as well as your personal beliefs and moral status. If you are deemed worthy of joining the service, you will be sent to coast guard basic training in New Jersey, USA.


Once arriving at basic training, you will be taught basic military behavior as well as rank recognition, marching and close order drill technique and physical conditioning. You will gain confidence by completing tasks that you might not have been able to complete prior to your enlistment. You will train in the classroom, on land and in the water to acquire the skills to pass basic training and become a member of the coast guard. You need not be an expert swimmer in order to join the coast guard, however, you will be required to pass some swimming tests in order to pass basic training.

You also will be required to complete a certain level of physical testing in order to graduate from basic training, such as completing 29 pushups (men), 15 pushups (women) in 60 seconds, 38 situps (men), 32 situps (women) in 60 seconds. Running is also tested and has a minimum requirement to pass the training portion of your enlistment. Men and women trainees must both complete a swim circuit, tread water for five minutes and jump from a 16-foot (5 meter) board and swim 328 feet (100 meters) in order to pass basic training.


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