Could You Be A Coast Guard?

About this Quiz

They're the saviors of the seas, responding to hundreds of distress calls each day! To be a Coast Guard is much more than to regulate sea traffic. You must be in tip-top shape and ready to answer the call of duty, sailing through stormy waters, frigid temperatures, and on high seas at a moment's notice.

Do you have what it takes to be an everyday hero? If given the choice, would you be a Boatswain's Mate, a Damage Controlman, a Machinery Technician, or an Operations Specialist? Take this quiz to find out!

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1. Attention! The Coast Guard's official march is "Semper Paratus", which means...

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  1. "Boats first"
  2. "Never walk"
  3. "Always ready"
  4. "Always read"
Semper Paratus means "always ready". The chorus goes like this: We’re always ready for the call, we place our trust in Thee. Through surf and storm and howling gale, high shall our purpose be. “Semper Paratus” is our guide, our fame, our glory, too. To fight to save or fight and die, aye! Coast Guard we are for you!
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2. Identify a distress signal at sea.

Helicopter. Rescue Occupation / Shtuterstock.com
  1. Red flares
  2. Rainbow fireworks
  3. Jumping dolphins
  4. Green flares
Shooting red flares or red rockets is an international distress signal, in addition to the International code flags "November" over "Charlie", and the continuous sounding of a fog signaling apparatus.
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3. It's not all about boats. To carry out rescue missions, you'll need to be comfortable:

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  1. In a submarine
  2. In a hang glider
  3. In a helicopter
  4. On a horse
It takes a lot of training to become a Coast Guard helicopter pilot. You must complete an 18-week-long Officer Candidate course, flight school, and have a bachelor's degree!
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4. "Turn to starboard!" Go:

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  1. South
  2. Right
If you're told to turn to starboard, turn right. Simple as that.
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5. You receive a storm warning!

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  1. Secure loose equipment and ride it out
  2. Go towards the eye of the storm
Navigate with extreme caution. Be especially careful when changing directions. Secure loose equipment and cargo on deck, and try to keep at least 250 miles away from the eye of the storm.
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6. If someone falls overboard, should you jump in the water to save them?

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  1. Only as a last resort, so you don't end up in their situation
  2. Yes, right away! It's not dangerous
Don't jump overboard to rescue someone unless you absolutely have to. First, try to reach the person from the boat (with your arm or anything else they can grab onto). If they are far away, throw them an inflatable, floatable device.
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7. Always use a "PFD":

meunierd / Shutterstock.com
  1. A proposed final draft
  2. A personal finance device
  3. A polyostotic fibrous dysplasia
  4. A personal flotation device
Wearing a life jacket will save your life! In 2017, the United States Coast Guard reported that in boating accidents where the cause of death was drowning, 84.5% of all victims were not wearing a life jacket.
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8. There are no "sea police", but watch out for...

Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford / US Coast Guard
  1. Maritime Enforcement Specialists
  2. Ministry of Emergency Situations
Maritime Enforcement Specialists are much more than just "sea police". They are trained in maritime law enforcement, anti-terrorism, force protection, port security, and safety.
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9. Time to return to port! How do you find a navigation lane when entering your port?

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  1. It's marked with yellow and black buoys
  2. It's marked with red and green buoys
The left side of a navigation channel is marked with green buoys, while the right side is marked with red buoys.
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10. If your boat capsizes, what should you do?

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  1. Give up
  2. Use it to support your body and stay afloat
  3. Tread water next to it
  4. Scream at the top of your lungs
If your boat is overturned but not sinking, use it to support your body. You should maintain as much of your body out of the water as possible to prevent hypothermia.
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11. Where is the "bow" of the ship?

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  1. The front of the ship
  2. The top of the mast
The front of the ship! The aft, on the other hand, it is at the back of the boat.
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12. Instead of a "Coast Guard", people might call you:

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  1. A coastie
  2. A fireman
  3. Bob
  4. A bodyguard
Coast Guard sailors aren't only called "coasties"! If you want to poke a bit of fun at them, you can also call them "puddle pirates" or "shallow water sailors".
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13. As a law enforcement officer, you'll:

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  1. Regulate hazardous materials shipping
  2. All of these things
  3. Regulate vessel operation and construction
  4. Prevent illegal foreign fishing
All of these things! Preventing illegal foreign fishing vessels is especially a priority because it ensures the health of US fisheries. In addition, the Coast Guard is involved in bridge administration, oil spill response, pilotage, and vessel construction and operation.
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14. A vessel is in distress! What's the maximum time you should take to deploy a search & rescue mission?

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  1. 3 hours
  2. 30 minutes
According to Coast Guard regulations, each Search and Readiness Unit should be able to mobilize within 30 minutes of being notified of a distress. The unit should achieve at least a two-hour total response time, from notification to arrival on the scene.
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15. What do you need to be able to do to pass training?

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  1. Tread water for 5 minutes
  2. Know at least 2 foreign languages
  3. Learn the rules of water polo
  4. Operate a bulldozer
Along with treading water for at least five minutes, you'll have to do nine push-ups in 60 seconds, and run and jump off a six-foot platform and swim 100 meters.
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16. Which of the following is the duty of a "Boatswain's Mate"?

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  1. Deck maintenance & small boat operations
  2. Helicopter maintenance
  3. Selecting the music
  4. Food prep
As a Boatswain's Mate, you'd have to master all the ins and outs of deck maintenance, small boat operations, navigation, and the supervision of all personnel assigned to a ship's deck force or shore unit.
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17. Can't see? When entering dense fog, sound:

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  1. Symphony No. 5 "Fate" (Beethoven)
  2. Don't sound anything
  3. S.O.S. in Morse code
  4. One prolonged blast at 2-minute intervals
One prolonged blast at intervals of not more than two minutes is a way to let other people on the water know where you are. If you hear such a signal, slow down to your mininimum speed so as not to risk collision.
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18. Assigned to Ports and Waterway Security? You'll probably be:

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  1. Constructing hydraulic power facilities
  2. Reviewing and approving security plans for port facilities
Hydraulic power has nothing to do with it. On an average day, the Coast Guard conducts 24 security boardings. It also screens 360 merchant vessels for potential security threats prior to arrival.
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19. As a "Damage Controlman", what are you in charge of?

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Nashaunda Tilghman / Commons.wikimedia.org
  1. Cleaning supplies
  2. Food provisions
  3. Press releases
  4. Firefighting and flooding equipment
A Damage Controlman (DC) is responsible for watertight integrity, as well as emergency equipment associated with firefighting and flooding, plumbing repairs, welding fabrication and repairs, decontamination, and detection of chemical-, biological-, and nuclear-warfare.
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20. What propels a "powered vessel"?

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  1. Sails
  2. Internal-combustion engine
A "powered" vessel is a boat propelled by an internal-combustion engine.
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21. Regulate sea traffic by...

melnyk mariya / Shutterstock.com
  1. Assessing if vessels' paint jobs are up to code
  2. Blowing a whistle
  3. Ensuring sea markers are functioning properly
  4. Going undercover
On an average day, the Coast Guard services 82 buoys and fixed aids to navigation as part of their work maintaining a network of signs, symbols, buoys, markers, lighthouses, and regulations.
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22. At night, approaching another boat, you can only see one white light. This means:

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  1. It's a cruise ship celebrating a wedding
  2. You may be overtaking it
When only a white light is visible, you may be overtaking another vessel. Give way to either side.
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23. "Turn to port!" Go:

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  1. Left
  2. North
Go left! Simple as that.
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24. Careful! What does a buoy with black and red horizontal bands indicate?

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  1. Come as close as possible
  2. Isolated danger, stay away!
  3. Nothing at all, they are decorative
  4. Treasure
A buoy with black and red horizontal bands indicates isolated danger to boats. Keep as far away from it as possible.
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25. You fell overboard! How can you improve your chances of staying alive?

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  1. Holding your breath as long as you can
  2. Survival floating
24% of all boating deaths are man-overboard fatalities! Increase your chances of survival by "survival floating"! In rough waters, float face down with your arms out front, only turning your head to breathe as necessary.
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26. You approach a boat with a flashing blue light...

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  1. It has valuable cargo onboard
  2. It's a commercial vessel
  3. It's a law enforcement vessel
  4. It's been pirated
Only law enforcement vessels can display flashing blue lights.
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27. Radio it in! A boat is displaying two red, running lights!

Coastguard.gov
  1. The vessel is throwing a party
  2. The vessel is not under command
If a boat is displaying two red, running lights, it is not under command and needs help.
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28. Untangling whales from fishing lines is a part of the Coast Guard's work:

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  1. False, the health of the ocean is not important to the Coast Guard
  2. True, protecting the marine environment is the Coast Guard's mission
True! The Coast Guard locates animals in jeopardy and assists in keeping waters clean in the US Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
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29. Why is ice-cutting important Coast Guard work?

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  1. It facilitates maritime commerce
  2. Winter is a down season and ice-cutting is good training
Cutting ice during the winter helps to facilitate maritime commerce by making waters safer for maritime shipping operations. Such work also protects communities in emergency situations.
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30. Ready to set out? Use a "winch" to...

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  1. Pull up your anchor
  2. Light an emergency signal
  3. Clean your deck
  4. Open a secret door
A winch is a mechanical device that lets you adjust the tension of a rope on a boat while anchoring it, mooring it, or pulling it out of water.
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31. Pop quiz! What is the "leeward" side of a sailboat?

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  1. Always the left side
  2. The side opposite to the way the wind is blowing
The "leeward" side of the boat is the direction opposite to the way the wind is blowing, while the "windward" side is the direction in which the wind is blowing.
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32. To be a "Machinery Technician", study up on the operation and maintenance of:

PO1 Timothy Tamargo / Commons.wikimedia.org
  1. The boat's masts and rudders
  2. Internal combustion engines
In the Coast Guard, a Machinery Technician operates and troubleshoots machinery, and must master all areas of machinery operation and maintenance from internal combustion engines to environmental support systems, to hydraulics, and areas of hazardous material recovery and control.
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33. Want to protect waters from oil spills? Become a:

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jaclyn Young / U.S. Coast Guard
  1. Mystical Space Typhoon
  2. Marine Science Technician
  3. Master of Science in Taxation
  4. Micro Systems Technologist
A Marine Science Technician protects the ocean from oil and hazardous materials, checks the structural and stability conditions onboard boats, and conducts commercial waterfront facility inspections.
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34. How do you know if you are approaching a boat with a diver?

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  1. You'll see a diver-down flag
  2. You'll here a loud siren
  3. You won't
  4. Only with infrared cameras
When approaching a boat with a diver, you'll see a diver-down flag. Keep at least 100 feet away from the vessel in the inland, and at least 300 feet away in open waters.
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35. As an "Operations Specialist", where might you work?

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  1. On small sailboats and in rescue helicopters
  2. In an on-land command center and on large cutters
Operations Specialists serve primarily at command centers and aboard large cutters. You would be assigned to a team that works on command, control, communications, planning, and response to emergency events.
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36. If your vessel is "adrift"...

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  1. It's on course
  2. It's being moved by the wind and waves
A vessel that is adrift is moved by the currents and tides at random.
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37. Why should fishing boats be given right of way when sailing?

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  1. They have less capacity to maneuver
  2. They are more sophisticated boats
If a fishing boat is in operation (i.e. trawling), it should be given right of way because it can maneuver less easily than other boats. Fishing boats should have their gear over the side and show two cones pointing toward each other vertically on their mast.
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38. If you radio in about a "runabout", you're talking about:

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  1. A boat with a helicopter landing pad
  2. A large commercial ship
  3. A small motorboat
  4. A military vessel
"Runabouts" are small motorboats holding between four and eight people.
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39. What is a "booby hatch"?

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  1. A raised framework with an opening
  2. Rope
  3. The steering wheel
  4. A booby trap
A booby hatch is a raised framework with a small door on a ship. If you think the word is strange, that's probably because it's Old English and has been around since at least 1784.
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40. In the Coast Guard, knowing the time and height of the tide...

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  1. Allows you to predict when waters will be rough
  2. Is not important
The rise and fall of tides are caused primarily by the moon. A tidal day is 24 hours and 50 minutes long. Knowing the times and heights of tides allows you to predict when most water will be flowing through an inlet, which can cause rough conditions.
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41. You see a boat with a single green running light on its side. It's a:

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  1. Sailboat
  2. A surfboard
  3. A row boat
  4. A kayak
A sailboat! Fun fact: There are about 1,300 yacht clubs in the United States.
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42. How do boats measure speed?

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  1. Kilometers per hour
  2. Light years
  3. Knots
  4. Miles per hour
A knot is one nautical mile per hour (1 knot = 1.15 miles per hour ).
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43. On an average day, how many search & rescue missions does the ENTIRE United States Coast Guard perform?

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  1. 45
  2. 4
45! In addition to this, on an average day, the Coast Guard saves ten lives and over $1.2M in property. It conducts 14 fisheries conservation boardings, completes 26 safety examinations on foreign vessels, and conducts 105 marine inspections.
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44. What sort of boat is a "laker"?

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  1. A bulk carrier vessel in the Great Lakes
  2. A cruise ship in the Carrbibean
Lake freighters, or lakers, are bulk carrier vessels on the Great Lakes.
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45. You're caught in a small boat in the middle of a bad storm! Now what?

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  1. Play Solitaire to pass the time
  2. Drop anchor and go to the boat's center
  3. Climb to the top of the sail
  4. Jump overboard and swim
If you can't get to shore quickly, drop anchor, remove all metal jewelry, and ride out the storm in the center of your boat, staying as low as possible.
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46. What does the term "holding power" refer to?

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  1. The sail
  2. The crew
  3. The paint
  4. The anchor
What is an anchor's holding power influenced by? The anchor's weight, the seabed, and other environmental conditions.
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47. Your boat is going one-eight-zero (180)! Which direction is that?

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  1. South
  2. East
It's going south! North, on the other hand, is either zero-zero-zero or three-six-zero.
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48. Who should you turn to if your ship's communication systems are down?

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  1. The Swab
  2. Electrician's Mate
  3. Culinary Specialist
  4. Public Affairs Specialist
Go to your Electrician's Mate! He or she is responsible for the installation, maintenance, repair, and management of sophisticated electrical and electronic equipment, including: electrical power generation, interior communication systems, electronic navigation equipment, and gyrocompass equipment.
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49. Time to get technical: Which measurement stands for "Freeboard"?

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  1. B
  2. F
F! The "Freeboard" measures the distance from the waterline to the upper deck level.
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50. Feeling seasick? How might a Coast Guard prevent nausea?

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  1. By dancing
  2. By drinking gin
  3. By being well-rested and avoiding spicy foods
  4. By singing sea shanties
Stay well-rested and don't consume spicy foods. Excessive intake of alcohol is not recommended. Do, however, eat well before you board a ship. Hunger can make you just as seasick as eating the wrong things.
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