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The Maritime Log #9 - Newburyport plays prominent role in Coast Guard ceremony.

June 16, 2018

The Maritime Log by Dyke Hendrickson


Newburyport plays prominent role in Coast Guard ceremony


Newburyport's maritime heritage got much attention in the recent change-of-command ceremony of Coast Guard admirals at Faneuil in Boston.

The service held its installation event on June 4, as Rear Adm. Andrew J. Tiongson replaced Rear Admiral Steven D. Poulin as commander of the First Coast Guard District.

The First District is composed of New England, New York and northern New Jersey.  This region monitors 1,225 miles of coast and includes more than 12,000 active duty, reserve, civilian and auxiliary personnel.

Newburyport’s Coast Guard station is on Water Street and includes a complement of about 25 active personnel.

Newburyport is the birthplace of the Coast Guard, and it is a Coast Guard City.

Though some local folk still ask if Newburyport is "really" the birthplace of the Coast Guard, historians noted the community's long-time connection.

In the color program, there was a short story on the U.S. Revenue Cutter Massachusetts.

That vessel was built in Newburyport and was the first cutter to be launched as part of the Revenue Cutter Service, created to collect tariffs and to curb smuggling. This service later became the Coast Guard (1915).

The program showed a photo of the Massachusetts, and below it was the following historical reference: “Agreeably to your orders I here send you a description of the Cutter Massachusetts built in Newbury port in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1791. She has one deck, two masts, her length is 60 feet above her upper deck, she measures 70 tons . . .” Mr. Benjamin Lincoln, collector of customers at Boston, to the Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton.

Tiongson’s career includes service on five Coast Guard cutters and one U.S. Navy ship. He served as commanding officer aboard cutters Nantucket, Legare and James.

His most recent post was as assistant commandant for resources and chief financial officer at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Poulin has been promoted to director of operations of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, where he will direct U.S military operations across the Caribbean Basin and Central and South America.  Poulin, a native of Kittery, Maine, served in Boston for two years. One of his priorities was implementing safety regimens for recreational boaters.

I interviewed him several weeks ago. Programs he supported included public safety.

He urged consistent use of life preservers on recreational vessels, and on kayaks and paddle boards.

Newburyport has about 1,500 pleasure craft registered on the Merrimack River, and more come from Salisbury, Amesbury and the boat launch at Cashman Park.

Coast Guard statistics show that in an average year, the First District saves 427 lives, conducts 2,392 search-and-rescue missions, assists 4,536 people and safeguards $115 million of property at sea.


Dyke Hendrickson, Outreach Historian, The Maritime Log


If your organization would like me to speak at an event, please get in touch.  I can be reached at

Thanks. Dyke Hendrickson

The Maritime Log by Dyke Hendrickson

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