The formation of a Coastguard Service within Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was inevitable and by the 2nd December 1980, eight young men were recruited to start the formation of a Coastguard Service. The personnel were recruited from the Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police force and were Secondary School Graduates.
On the first of January 1981, these eight persons were on their way to England to undergo Marine Engineering Training in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. The Mechanical Engineers were trained at the Royal Navy Engineering School, HMS Sultan and the Electrical Engineers at HMS Colling Wood. Four mechanical and two electrical engineers completed the respective courses successfully by October 1981. The mechanical engineers were Corporal Marcus Richards, Police Constables Ricardo Theobalds, Desmond Corea, and the late Clement Patrick. The electrical engineers were Police Constables David Robin and Harlon Cambridge.
The acceptance ceremony for the first Coastguard Vessel, the George Mc Intosh, was held on the 6th March 1981 in Portsmouth, England. The Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines provided the funding for this vessel. It was a 75-ft, patrol craft built by Vosper Throncroft of Portsmouth, England.
This vessel arrived in Barbados from England by early November 1981. The vessel made its maiden voyage from Barbados to Saint Vincent between 20th and 21st November 1981. The vessel was commanded by Lieutenant Commander David Fisher (Royal Navy), Sergeant G. Hazell, Corporals K. Robinson and Marcus Richards, Police Constables D. Robin, R. Theobalds, H. Cambridge, B. May, D. Corea and C. Patrick.
The George Mc Intosh was commissioned on 21st November 1981 in Kingstown. The vessel then carried out its first successful search and rescue operation on 19th January 1982, when it rescued the motor vessel “SIMONE V.” which was located in a position 10m north east of Saint Vincent.
By October of 1982, there was an addition of two 27ft patrol boats to the Coastguard Service. These boats were funded by Canadian Government, and were built locally by Buhlers' Yachts. The hull numbers of the two boats were SVG 08 “BRIGHTON” and SVG 07 “LARAKAI”, both vessels are presently decommissioned and have been replaced by SVG 03, which is a rigid hull inflatable boat and the “Chatham Bay” SVG 08, which is a 24ft fiberglass Boston Whaler Class Vessel. CGV Hairoun Hull Number SVG 04 Vessel is a 40ft patrol boat built by Sea Ark Marine U.S.A. and SVG 02,a 920 Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat.
On the 1st June 1987 the Coastguard Vessel “Captain Mulzac” sailed from Morgan City Louisiana U.S.A., to join the Coastguard Service in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The Coastguard Vessel Captain Mulzac is a 120 ft patrol boat that was built by Swiftshifts Inc. of Morgan City, Louisiana, U.S.A. The vessel arrived in the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines waters on 12th June 1987. The vessel was funded and is presently upkept by the US Government. The acceptance and commissioning ceremony took place on 13th June 1987. The crew that made the maiden voyage from the U.S.A was Sub. Lt.D.Robin (Captain), Sub. Lt. G. Hazell, Midshipman D. Corea (Engineering Officer) Petty Officer M. Richards, Leading Seaman B.May and E. Slater, Able Seaman A.Harry and L. Stephens, Seaman C. George and L. Samuel.
Since the Coastguard Vessel Mulzac has joined the fleet of ships operated by the Coastguard, it has served as the flag ship for the unit mainly conducting regional security patrols. However, the vessel carried out its first search and rescue operation on 6th July 1987 when it rescued motor vessel “Alva” which was in distress 3.5m west of Layou and was towed into the Layou Bay.
On the 1st April 1984, the members of the Coastguard Service were granted the right to wear the present blue uniform worn by the guard. The rank structure was also changed on that day to replace the traditional police rank structure, with a naval system similar to that used by the Royal Navy.
On 26th October 1990 the Acceptance and Commissioning ceremony of the Coastguard Base at Calliaqua took place. The Base now provides a home for Coastguard vessels and men who previously were stationed in Kingstown at the main docks. The Coastguard Base was funded by the British Government and constructed by “Kier International”. The Coastguard has expanded considerably since then and now has bases in Union Island, Bequia and a small contingent of men in Canouan.
Since the inception of the Coastguard Service, the unit has developed into a well organised, dependable and efficient service with a number of persons being trained in the following skills, marine electrical, marine engineering, seamanship and navigation.
At present the Coastguard strength stands at 55 persons. Coastguard personnel are normally trained in Barbados, Antigua, U.S.A [uscg/usn] and England [RN].
The Coastguard Commanders have so far been Royal Navy Personnel.
These Commanders were:-
Lieutenant Commander David Fisher [20/11/81 – 01/05/82]
Lieutenant Commander Roger Vincent [05/82-05/84]
Lieutenant Commander David Ranger [05/84-06/87]
Lieutenant Commander David Smith [06/87-10/89]
Lieutenant Commander John Martin [10/89-03/92]
and Lieutenant Commander C.E. Jagger [03/92-08/94].
The first Vincentian Coastguard Commander is Lieutenant Commander David Robin, who took over in August 1994.