LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The U.S. Coast Guard will celebrate 225 years of service to the Nation and the communities in which it serves, Tuesday.
The Coast Guard traces its history back to the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton proposed building sea-going revenue cutters to collect revenue for the new Republic and serve as “useful sentinels of the law.”
President George Washington signed the bill passed by the first Congress August 4, 1790 that authorized construction of ten cutters to enforce tariff and trade laws and to prevent smuggling.
This event, 225 years ago, was the “birth” of the U.S. Coast Guard.
It is fundamentally a domestic armed force, but also deploys units and people overseas; supporting various Coast Guard missions and national security interests. It performs many of the same missions overseas as it does at home. The Coast Guard assists foreign naval and maritime forces through training and joint operations, and also supports U.S. diplomatic efforts by promoting democracy, economic prosperity, and trust between nations.
In 1852, in response to a significant increase in steamboat disasters, Congress created the Steamboat Inspection Service and the Coast Guard’s history in Louisville began with the establishment of a Steamboat Inspection Station.
The Louisville Lifeboat Station was formed November 3, 1881 by the U.S. Lifesaving Service. The Lifeboat Station was located just above the falls of the Ohio River, and was the only permanently located floating lifeboat station in the world.
Several rescues were made by the men at the lifeboat station including the rescue of 200 people from the steamer James D. Parker in 1882.
Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley is located in Louisville and home to 92 active duty and 42 reserve Coast Guard men and women. Sector Ohio Valley encompasses 10 states ranging from the eastern portion of Missouri to the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania, and from Ohio to northern Alabama. This includes over 3,000 miles of navigable waterways providing transportation for 600 million tons of commodities on twelve major rivers, utilizing a system of 211 dams and 57 locks.