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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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UNITED STATES COAST GUARD. The Coast Guard is smaller than the New York City Police Department. On an average day, however,---

            Small boats are underway for 396 sorties/missions
            Aircraft fly 164 missions, logging 324 hours, of which 19 hours 
            are flown off patrolling cutters
            Law enforcement teams board 144 vessels
            Cutter and small boat crews interdict and rescue 14 illegal 
            Marine Safety personnel open 8 new cases for marine violation of 
            federal statutes
            Marine Inspectors board 100 large vessels for port safety checks
            Vessel examiners conduct 20 commercial fishing vessel safety exams 
            and issue 11 fishing vessel compliance decals
            Pollution investigators respond to 20 oil or hazardous chemical 
            spills totaling 2,800 gallons
            Buoy tenders and Aids to Navigational Teams service 135 aids to 
            Vessel Traffic Service controllers assist 2,509 commercial ships 
            entering & leaving U.S. ports
            Auxiliarists conduct 377 vessel safety checks and teach boating 
            safety courses to 550 boaters.

The need for the Coast Guard in Dubuque began with the construction of the lock and dam system in the 1930s which necessitated the placement and maintenance of navigational aids. The Coast Guard continues to help maintain safe vessel travel by monitoring the changing river channel and distributing river buoys to mark it. The Coast Guard is also involved in law enforcement, regulating environmental issues, and directing ice breaking ans search-and-rescue operations usually during flood-relief efforts. (1)

The United States Coast Guard Cutter Wyaconda in May 2015 was celebrated for its fifty years of service--forty-two of them in Dubuque. The seventeen-member crew maintains more than 1,200 buoys and 410 short aids to navigation on 324 miles of navigable waterways on the MISSISSIPPI RIVER, St. Croix River and Minnesota River.(2)

Many of the ships used by the Coast Guard were manufactured by the DUBUQUE BOAT AND BOILER WORKS.

In 1945 Dubuque was chosen as one of nine new recruiting centers for the coast guard. Young men eligible for enlistment, over 17 and under 28 years of age, and women between the ages of 20 and 36, were encouraged to join. (3)

In 1948 Dubuque was the home of a supply depot on the riverfront and the area office of the bureau of marine inspection in the federal building. The supply depot manned by three guardsmen serviced the two cutters that operated north (to Minneapolis) and south (to Saverton, Missouri) of Dubuque on the MISSISSIPPI RIVER. Both cutters brought damaged buoys to Dubuque for repair. The office of marine inspection had the duty of watching over the equipment and sanitary conditions on the boats in the area. The conversion to diesel power reduced the inspections temporarily around 1948 because rules had been written before the new style engines had been developed. (4)



1. Reber, Craig D. "Oh Buoy! Coast Guard Cutter Marks 50 Years," Telegraph Herald, May 31, 2015, p. 1

2. Ibid.

3. "Plan Drive in Dubuque Area," Telegraph-Herald, February 18, 1945, p. 12

4. Kreger, Bill. "USCG Observes 158th Birthday," Telegraph-Herald, August 1, 1948, p 16