Working in the United States Coast Guard as a Boatswains Mate is the most versatile rating found in the Coast Guard. It is known as the Command Rating of the Coast Guard, senior enlisted Boatswains Mates are in charge of small boat crews, and even in some settings small boat stations and motor lifeboat units. The Coast Guard Boatswains mate is a master of the Deck ratings; they work in small boat operations, and deck and vessel maintenance. They are experts at navigation, and small boat evolutions, and they supervise the ships deck force. Boatswains Mates operate cranes, hoists, winches and other equipment used to deal with all aspects of deck and small boat operations.
Performing the mission of the Coast Guard is a challenge, but the Boatswains Mate is in the thick of it all. Boatswains Mates work to load cargo, stand security watch, perform communications and navigation, and set gangplanks. The Rating of Boatswains mate is the most universal rating in the Coast Guard, and they have a general knowledge of cables, ropes, and the knowledge of how to use them. Boatswain’s mates know about proper stowage, and the use of strains, stresses and use of each type of rope cable and line found aboard ship. Boatswains Mates can be found at nearly every duty station in the Coast Guard, from small stations to the largest vessels.
Boatswain’s mates serve on harbor tugs, ice breakers, and every size vessel found in the Coast Guard fleet. The Boatswains Mate is the Officer in Charge of many tugs, patrol boats, small craft and small shore units including those units involved in search and rescue and aids to navigation. Boatswain’s mates are federal law enforcement officers when performing boat inspection and boarding duty, and they represent the tradition and best of service in the Coast Guard at sea and on shore.
Training for Boatswains Mates is conducted at Yorktown Virginia at the Class A technical school, or through a on the job striker program. After attending 12 weeks of technical training in seamanship, petty officer leadership and communications, navigation and rules of the road, a Coast Guard Boatswains mate can then be assigned to his unit.
Further training as a Boatswains mate is possible at heavy weather school, Buoy Deck Supervisor School, and a variety of other law enforcement and coastal law enforcement type academies.