The Crystal Coast's offshore waters are guarded by the US Coast Guard, and Emerald Isle is home to one of their flagship stations, encompassing a large section of the town's western edge, adjacent to the inlet, and marked by an unimposing station house that more closely resembles a classic beach cottage than a military outpost.
The Coast Guard has always been an instrumental fixture along the North Carolina coastline, beginning with its predecessors, the US Life Serving Service. As early as the mid-1800s, lifesaving stations were strategically placed along the Outer Banks and southern Outer Banks in order to protect the thousands of ships trying to access the busy port towns of Morehead City, Beaufort, Wilmington, and Ocracoke and Portsmouth Islands. Responsible for countless rescues and saving thousands of lives, when the US Life Saving Station was converted to the US Coast Guard after World War II, Coast Guard stations were developed to take their place, and maintain the tradition of dedicated life saving along the North Carolina coastline.
Today, the Emerald Isle Station, which was a small boat station for the past 20 years, has been recently expanded to be a fully manned station, to help assist and police the countless maritime traffic that frequents the offshore sound, Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic waters. In fact, the station's area of responsibility encompasses approximately 50 miles of Intracoastal Waterway, including Bogue Inlet, New River Inlet, White Oak River, and New River, in addition to an offshore ocean region of 30 miles off the Crystal Coast beaches. Considering the heavy maritime traffic, especially in the summer months, this terrain is certainly no short order, and it's not unusual for passing mariners to spot Coast Guard personnel passing through the waves in bright orange-red skiffs or larger vessels, ensuring that there are no issues on the water.
While most everyday visitors will have little contact with the Coast Guard, vacationers out and about on the town might spot station personnel in their signature dark blue uniforms at the local grocery store, local restaurants, or frequenting any of the town's amenities. Hopefully, this friendly happenstance encounter will be the only encounter a visitor has with this life saving crew, however, in case of an emergency on the water, mariners can call the station at (252) 354-2462, or call their regional 24-hour operation center at (910) 362-4015 to request assistance. Specializing in addressing Search & Rescue, Law Enforcement or Marine Casualty, and other marine emergencies, many vessels cruise happier along the Crystal Coast knowing the Coast Guard is nearby if needed.
The US Coast Guard Station in Emerald Isle prides itself in carrying on a centuries-old tradition of protecting the fragile barrier islands that lay just offshore North Carolina. Responsible for countless rescues annually for maritime travelers, visitors who are heading to Emerald Isle by boat can rest assured that in case of emergency, a dedicated team is standing by to provide assistance on the water.