What does a Coast Guard Pilot do?

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  • Written By: Jodee Redmond
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 January 2020
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A Coast Guard pilot is a highly trained aviator who works for one of the branches of the United States Armed Forces. These professionals may be required to operate fixed-wing aircraft as well as helicopters as they perform their duties. Pilots may be involved in patrolling coastal waters or participating in rescue missions. They may also be called on as part of the United States' national defense resources if the country is under threat.

A person who is interested in becoming a Coast Guard pilot can reach his or her goal in one of two ways. If he or she has previous experience working as a military pilot, the Coast Guard can hire him or her directly for an available position. The other way to become an aviator with this law enforcement agency is to graduate from the Coast Guard Academy as an officer and then apply for admission to the Guard's flight training school.

Not everyone who wants to fly can become a Coast Guard pilot. The candidates for these positions must be physically fit, as well as have good vision with no issues with depth perception or color blindness. The prospective pilot will also be required to undergo a detailed dental examination to detect the presence of any conditions that may affect him or her while flying, due to changes in air pressure.


Part of the Coast Guard pilot's assigned duties may be to fly routine patrol missions. The Coast Guard is constantly on the lookout for lawbreakers who are engaged in illegal fishing activities or attempting to smuggle drugs or other contraband into the United States. The agency is also involved in patrolling the waters for people who are attempting to enter the country illegally.

The Coast Guard's motto, "Always Ready," is very appropriate, since the agency stands prepared to provide assistance to those who are at sea. Recreational boaters, as well as personnel employed on commercial ships, know that they can call for assistance if needed. A Coast Guard pilot may be involved in participating in a grid search to find lost or missing boaters, as well as survivors of a disaster at sea.

Since the Coast Guard is considered part of the United States' Armed Forces, its personnel, including the pilots, may be deployed to any location where their expertise is needed. When national security is threatened, the Guard can respond quickly to provide assistance in the country's coastal areas or its waters. The Coast Guard pilot plays an important role in the agency's missions.



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