Maritime Log #32 – Historic Coast Guard Can be a Good Career Choice

By Dyke Hendrickson, Custom House Maritime Museum Outreach Historian

Members of the Coast Guard recently missed at least one paycheck, and institutions like the Custom House Maritime Museum jumped in to help with their financial obligations.

Newburyport, of course, is the birthplace of the Coast Guard.

That designation did not come at once. In 1790, the Revenue Cutter Service was created by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, and the first vessel was built here. It was the Massachusetts, and that’s largely why the city is considered the birthplace.

In 1915, the Revenue Cutter Service was merged with the Lifesaving Service to form the U.S. Coast Guard. And in 1939, the Lighthouse Service was folded into the Coast Guard, and that is the service we have today.

There are about 42,000 active Coast Guard members, and about 24,000 in the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

About two-dozen Coasties populate the station on Water Street. Its sign is shown here.

I am writing a book titled, “New England Coast Guard Stories: Remarkable Patriots.” I have concluded the Coast Guard can be a good career choice for high school and college graduates alike.

Benefits are generous, and the Coast Guard will pay for further education.

Salaries are not glorious, especially at first.

Here are some salaries of the Coast Guard, based on 2017 rates:

E-1 Seaman recruit, $1,600 per month.

E-5 Petty Office second class, $27,338-$38,794.

E-8 Master Chief Petty Officer, $49,633 – $70,787.

O-1, Ensign Junior Office, $36,418 – $45,824.

0-3, Lieutenant, $48,560 – $79,002.

0-6, Captain, $76,784 – $135,936.

0-8, Rear Admiral, $121,860 – $175,676.

0-10, Admiral, $15,583 per month.

If you would like me to speak at an event, I can be reached at