When making the decision to join the United States Coast Guard, there are many things that you should do to prepare. Here are some guidelines to help you through the process.
- One of the most important things to understand about the Coast Guard is the several different functions that it has. In time of war, the Coast Guard becomes part of the Untied States Navy. However, in peace time, the U.S. Coast Guard serves other purposes. The main functions of the Coast Guard are search and rescue missions, illegal and international drug trafficking prevention, illegal immigrant prevention, national security of bordering waters, and other marine resource management functions. Make sure that you understand all of the functions and purposes of the Coast Guard before joining.
- Discuss your decision with family and friends and talk to people that you know that have joined. Listen to what they have to say about the Coast Guard, but mainly ask them about factual information rather than their opinions so you can form your own opinion as to whether it's a good choice for you.
- Understand that joining the Coast Guard could mean being away from friends and family for an extended period of time.
- Talk to a Coast Guard recruiter about joining. Ask about the age requirement as these periodically change. Also ask about training, special training, and special career choices in the Coast Guard to better help you with your decision and to know what the Coast Guard is all about.
- Ask your recruiter as many questions as you can think of and if you think of more later, go back for another visit or contact him or her by telephone to discuss any questions or concerns about joining the Coast Guard.
- When you're certain about you decision to join the Coast Guard, arrange dates and times to take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test and your medical examination through the U.S. Coast Guard.
- Before signing your contract to join the United States Coast Guard, make sure that you read the contract in its entirety. If you don't understand any part of the contract, ask the recruiter what it means. Don't sign a contract to join the Coast Guard until to agree with and understand everything in the contract completely.
- Enjoy your new career in joining the Coast Guard!