LONG AND STORIED HISTORY
The Coast Guard’s history dates back to the post-Revolutionary
War, making it the longest continuous sea service
in the nation. Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the
Treasury, was having difficulty paying off debt from the
American Revolution and needed to find a way to collect
debt through tariffs. Since many Americans had become
proficient at smuggling during the war, Hamilton and George
Washington proposed that Congress appropriate funds to
build 10 cutters to patrol the waters and enforce tariff regulations.
On Aug 4, 1790, the funds were approved and the
Revenue Cutter Service was born.
In the mid-1800s the U.S. Life Saving Service was formed to
rescue passengers and crew of vessels along the coastline and
the Revenue Cutter Service often worked with it. The two
merged in 1915 to form the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1939, the
U.S. Lighthouse Service was added to the Coast Guard and
the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Reserves were organized.
The formation of Fort Pierce’s Coast Guard Auxiliary
Flotilla 8 dates back to the critical years of World War 2 when
volunteer members participated in serving the country by
joining forces with the Coast Guard as temporary reserves.
Their meetings were held in a small tin-roofed building on
the Fort Pierce Harbor just down the inlet from the Coast
During the first few years, some of its members would
patrol the South Hutchinson Island beach from the inlet to
the Martin County line. Many had full-time jobs and would
spend all night walking the beach. Back then, the mosquitoes
were brutal and the members quickly changed from foot patrol
to mounted horseback to avoid the mosquitoes’ wrath.
USCG AUX FLOTILLA 58
The formation of Flotilla 8 was formed during the critical years of World
War 2. The new members joined forces with the United States Coast Guard
to protect the Florida coast.
Members also used their own boats to patrol the sea, but
since they were not equipped with marine radios or navigation
equipment they could only venture out as far as they
knew there would be enough gas to return to port. Flotilla 8
performed many rescues at sea and patrolled the waters to
prevent looting of wrecked vessels.
In 1943, the flotilla was offered space on Pelican Yacht
Club’s property. It built a small structure using lumber from
demolished buildings and continued to operate out of that
base for the next 27 years. >>
USCGA building on Fort Pierce Inlet
in 1940s is pictured in the book
Images of America, US Life-Saving
Service Florida’s East Coast.