So you’re interested in joining the US Coast Guard Auxiliary? We are America’s premier boating safety organization. We are the civilian, volunteer part of the US Coast Guard. We’re tasked with managing recreational boating safety for the Coast Guard. However, we also support the Coast Guard in other ways – operations, marine safety, AuxAir, among other programs. To become a member, you must:
- Be an American citizen. You must provide proof of citizenship, both the original and a copy/
- Be 17 years or older. Prospective members who are 17 most have parental consent before joining. We have no age limit.
- Possess a clean background. Certain minor misdemeanors may be waiverable on a case-by-case basis.
- Pay member dues annually ($50 per for 2014 in 2-76).
- Pass a personnel security investigation which requires being fingerprinted and photographed.
- Pass our new member exam.
- Sit the new member interview.
- Submit your DD-214 and clearance paperwork if you are prior service or have a security clearance.
- Be willing to spend time supporting the Auxiliary.
- Be able to afford time and money spent on dues, uniforms, and travel.
Please realize that we are a volunteer organization, not a form of enlistment for the Coast Guard. We are only reimbursed for certain expenses. You will not be paid. This is not a means of employment!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: “What do you guys do?”
A: As stated before, we’re the civilian volunteer component of the US Coast Guard. Our primary mission is promoting recreational boating safety. Outside of that, we support all Coast Guard functions except military and law enforcement. A non-exhaustive list of our activities includes:
- Teaching safe boating to the public.
- Free vessel safety checks.
- Partnership visits to local marinas, maritime supply stores, and other businesses.
- Surface operations, including search and rescue.
- Auxiliary Air program.
- Marine Safety and Environmental Protection.
- Working alongside the Coast Guard on boats, cutters, in offices, in the kitchen, and in many other areas.
- Public affairs.
Q: “How often do I need to participate?”
A: As much time as you can give. It’s recommended that a new member pursue a qualification as soon as possible – when you come to orientation, you’ll be briefed on what’s available for you to earn. We also try and get new members involved by taking them on fellowship trips to Cape May for uniform procurement as well as getting to know flotilla members. We also encourage members to offer help or try to improve a weakness they see in our unit. We’re friendly and welcome anyone who is serious about helping out.
Q: “What kind of skills do you need to join?”
A: Back in the day, it used to be that you needed to own a boat, radio, or plane to join. Now we take anyone so far as they qualify for membership. What skills do we want?
- Prior military service.
- Boat handling/seamanship.
- Master’s licensee holders – people who know the rules of the road, legal requirements for equipment, etc.
- Technical and trade skills.
- Teaching and instructing on a professional level.
- Coding/programming/internet technology.
- Radio experience (amateur or otherwise).
- Certified pilot or air crew.
- Administrative skills like taking notes, filing paperwork, and other clerical duties.
- Human resources training, especially in recruiting and retention.
- Public affairs experience, especially in press releases and public statements.
- Publications experiences – editing, writing, journalism, etc.
- Fundraising, especially grant writing.
- Managerial or leadership experience in any of the above is an extra bonus.
Q: “What is your flotilla like?”
A: You can see our flotilla officers here. We elect our Flotilla Commander (FC) and Flotilla Vice Commander (VFC). The FC is a mentor, leader, and visionary for the flotilla. They are also a chief mentor who is involved in making sure members train, advance, and qualify. They are advocates for their flotilla at the division level and serve as mediators for disputes. The VFC serves as chief of staff and is in charge of overall administration and coordination of plans. The VFC is the mediator between the staff and the commander. Below the elected officers are Flotilla Staff Officers (FSOs). These people are appointed by the FC and are in charge of a specific program like Vessel Examinations or Member Training.
2-76 itself is very active, large, and fairly young comparatively. It is a fast-paced flotilla that prides itself on competence and setting standards. We are highly involved in Public Education, Member Training, and Public Affairs. We’re proud to have been awarded the 2013 Flotilla Meritorious Achievement Award.
Q: “How soon can I get involved?”
A: As soon as your application clears the Director’s office. You will receive a member number and can start training right away. This takes about 2 weeks on average. In the meanwhile, you can study for your first qualification.
Q: “Do I have to wear a uniform?”
A: Yes, but only during activities Uniforms are permitted for wear during authorized activities only – not at the bar or at work (exception is for students who have class right before or after an activity). Depending on your field of interest, you’ll either purchase the Operational Dress Uniform (work uniform, USCG equivalent of utilities) or the Tropical Blue (a year-round undress uniform). We wear uniforms at meetings as a point of uniformity and pride. Uniform wear can be tricky for those without a military background but we will get you squared away. We also have an alternative uniform, the blue blazer outfit, for those who do not make a “seamanlike appearance” in uniform. Some facilities like TRACEN Cape May require that those in uniform meet the USCG’s weight limits.
Q: “Is there a physical test? What about the ASVAB?”
A: You must be capable of performing the mission you wish to participate in safely, without hesitation, without assistance, and confidently. Other than qualifying in certain Coast Guard augmentation positions that require meeting their physical standards, you do not have to run, do push-ups, or sit-ups, although fitness is encouraged! You have to pass an open-book exam on the Auxiliary and its missions before you join.
Q: “Where do you meet?”
A: 1 Washington Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19147. 3rd Tuesday of every month. We start at 1930, but be there a half hour early to mingle and enjoy refreshments. We meet at an active Coast Guard facility – please be prepared to surrender ID upon entry. Firearms, even those who hold license to carry, must leave them in their vehicle or at home. They are not permitted on base and especially not in uniform.
Q: “I don’t live in Philadelphia. Can I join your flotilla?”
A: Yes, you can, although we encourage you join a local flotilla. Visit the national recruiting site’s flotilla finder for your local flotilla.
Q: “I have been convicted of a crime. Can I join?”
A: It depends – it’s all down to the Director of Auxiliary (a Coast Guard officer) and the Security Center in Washington DC (they process your security investigation). We cannot refuse your application as long as you are honest and provide paperwork. Once we submit it for processing, it is out of our hands. Anything that directly violates the Coast Guard’s values or missions will result in slim odds – but we will still process your application.
Please download and read the New Member Reference Guide for more information. After filling out the contact form, our HR officer will be in touch. They will invite you to our New Member Training (every 1st Saturday of the month at 0800) or our flotilla meeting (every 3rd Tuesday at 1900) depending on which is closer. There you will receive an application and guidance on completing your membership packet.
If you are serious about joining, please fill out the following form. Our Human Resources officer will be in contact with you shortly.