August 4, 1790 Congress signed the Appropriations Act assigning funds to construct a “cutter system” to enforce the customs laws for the import and export of products into the United States. Alexander Hamilton, the First Secretary of Treasure, requested the “cutter system” in order to enforce the customs laws for funding of the budding nation. Ten cutters were ordered and constructed and the Revenue Cutter Service created, later becoming the U.S. Coast Guard. These cutters were the only maritime defense for the United States until 1798 when the US Navy was reinstated.
Through the years and history of the United States the Revenue Cutter Service had duties added and their name gradually changed. When Alaska was purchased, the Revenue Service surveyed the land and coast line. They became involved with life saving operations in the oceans and Great Lakes. Duties were added and serviced merged to the responsibility of the Revenue Service.
In 1915 when the Revenue Service and the Life Saving Service merged, the name became U.S. Coast Guard.
In 1946, Congress transferred the Bureau of Marine Inspections and Navigation to the Coast Guard. A single federal agency was then dedicated to saving life and enforcing the maritime laws of the United States. In 1967, all navigational waterways were put under the control and care of the Coast Guard.
Today, the U.S. Coast Guard patrols, protects and enforces the maritime laws of our oceans and waterways. They are foremost part of the military forces protecting the shores of our country. The U.S. Coast Guard works with the U.S. Navy in times of war.
Happy Birthday U.S. Coast Guard.