Overview of Agency Mission and Activities
The U.S. Coast Guard is one of the five armed forces of the United States and the only military organization within the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard protects against hazards to people, maritime commerce, and the environment. It defends our maritime borders and saves those in peril. The Coast Guard responds quickly to disasters to restore the nation's waterways. It helps sustain the Marine Transportation System, which carries 99% of U.S. imports and exports. When called upon, the Coast Guard defends the nation at home and abroad alongside the other armed forces.
The Coast Guard Protects Those on the Sea: leading responses to maritime disasters and threats, ensuring a safe and secure maritime transportation system, including the documentation and inspection of vessels, and credentialing of merchant mariners, preventing incidents and rescuing those in distress.The Coast Guard Protects America From Threats Delivered by the Sea: enforcing laws and treaties, securing our ocean resources, and ensuring the integrity of our maritime domain from illegal activity.
The Coast Guard Protects the Sea Itself: regulating hazardous cargo transportation, holding responsible parties accountable for environmental damage and cleanup, and protecting living marine and natural resources.The Coast Guard has eleven statutory missions: Ports, waterways, and coastal security; Drug interdiction; Aids to navigation; Search and rescue; Living marine resources; Marine safety; Defense readiness; Migrant interdiction; Marine environmental protection; Ice operations; Other law enforcement, including fisheries and marine mammal protection.
A new Commandant Instruction on the Coast Guard's strategic approach in the Arctic describes four primary areas of focus: (1) Maritime Safety, Security, and Stewardship; (2) Legal Regimes and Partnerships; (3) Mission Performance and Preparedness; and (4) Capabilities.
Primary relevant mandates
14 U.S.C. 89 - Primary Law Enforcement Authority
14 U.S.C. 141 - Cooperation with other Agencies, States, Territories, and Political Subdivisions
33 USC 1221-1236 - Ports and Waterways Safety Act of 1972
33 U.S.C. 1321-1330 - Federal Water Pollution Control Act / Clean Water Act
33 U.S.C. 1901-1915 - Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships
33 U.S.C. 2701- 2762 - Oil Pollution Act of 1990
42 U.S.C. 9601- 9675 - Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
43 U.S.C. 1801-1866 - Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act