US Coast Guard Birthday an Annual Celebration of Maritime History

By Jenny Davis, Correspondent
Jenny is a freelance writer who moved to Newburyport in 2016 with her two loves, partner Wade and their Mini Goldendoodle, Lexie. After 25 years of retail management on the North Shore, Jenny is now enjoying writing about the people and places in the area she proudly calls home. Her happy place is sitting with a book in a local coffee shop or running along the Clipper City Rail Trail.
US Coast Guard Birthday, Newburyport

The US Coast Guard Birthday is August 4th and 2023 marks 233 years for this oldest branch of the military. The celebration, as in year’s past, also coincides with Newburyport’s annual Yankee Homecoming festival.  The Newburyport station, U.S. Coast Guard Station Merrimack River, is a source of great pride for locals as is the city’s rich maritime history.  The US Coast Guard Birthday is a perfect chance to celebrate not only the founding of the Coast Guard but to thank these men and women who protect our waters and perform life saving missions.

Did you know that first revenue cutter, USRC Massachusetts, was built in Newburyport? The vessel was the result of the Tariff Act, signed on August 4, 1790, that authorized a total of 10 cutters to be built and to enforce tariff and trade laws and prevent smuggling. Today, the US Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security and is responsible for law enforcement, environmental protection and search and rescue. The Newburyport station, US Coast Guard Station Merrimack River, has the distinction of being one of only 19 surf stations in the country and only one of 4 along the entire East Coast.  Surf stations are required in areas where there is the potential for extreme wave height and or high winds more than a month out of the year.

Every year, during Newburyport’s Yankee Homecoming celebration in August, US Coast Guard Station Merrimack River holds an Open House during which the public can tour the 140-year-old station as well as learn about boater safety and ask questions. Summer months are the busiest time for the men and women of the Coast Guard and our own local waters, though beautiful, are some of the most unpredictable and can often be dangerous to navigate. You can hear about some of the hazards that the crew encounters, learn about the trainings they conduct and leave feeling more knowledgeable and safer for the next time you head out on the water.

Though always ready for any emergency 24/7, the crew at US Coast Guard Station Merrimack River will also take some time to relax and honor the Coast Guard Birthday in their own way.  Some delicious food and friendly (or perhaps, fierce?) competition at the station’s own annual corn hole tournament sounds like the prefect way to unwind and celebrate this important date in history. We hope they will also know how truly appreciative we are of their hard work and dedication. Happy Birthday, to the U.S.C.G.!