- Coast Guard
1. U.S. Mil. a military service under the Department of Transportation, which in peacetime enforces maritime laws, saves lives and property at sea, and maintains aids to navigation, and which in wartime may be placed under the Navy Department to augment the navy.2. (l.c.) any similar organization for aiding navigation, preventing smuggling, etc.3. (l.c.) Also called coastguardsman. a member of any such organization.[1825-35]
* * *Naval force that polices compliance with a nation's maritime laws and assists vessels wrecked or in distress on or near its coasts.First established in the early 19th century to discourage smuggling, coast guards may maintain lighthouses, buoys, and other navigational aids and provide emergency aid to merchant sailors and to victims of natural disasters. Duties may include icebreaking in inland waterways and the collection and broadcasting of meteorological data concerning floods and storms. In several European countries, volunteer lifeboat associations handle coast-guard duties.
* * *a force, usually naval, that enforces a nation's maritime laws and assists vessels wrecked or in distress on or near its coasts. Such forces originated during the early 19th century as a restraint on smuggling.A coast guard may also be responsible for the maintenance of lighthouses, buoys, and other navigational aids and for administering emergency aid to merchant seamen and to victims of natural disasters, such as floods and hurricanes. In some countries coast guard duties include icebreaking in inland waterways and the collection and dissemination of meteorological data pertaining to floods, hurricanes, and storms. The International Ice Patrol, operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, maintains surveillance of icebergs in the North Atlantic shipping lanes.Nearly all coastal countries have some form of coast guard. Among the best known are the U.S. Coast Guard, the Coastguard Service in Britain, the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Japanese Maritime Service Agency. All are under the supervision of their respective governments; in several European countries, coast guard duties are performed by volunteer lifeboat associations.
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