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More than 100 Years in the Bay


A Coast Guard presence has been in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1854, when the U.S. Lighthouse Service erected the first of sixteen lights on the West Coast at Alcatraz Island. Others followed at Fort Point, Point Reyes, Point Bonita, Point Montara, and Point Ano Nuevo.

The history of Station Golden Gate begins in 1877 before the establishment of the U.S. Life Saving Service, an agency later absorbed into the U.S. Coast Guard. On June 20, 1877 the Secretary of Treasury, realizing the need for resources like those of the Massachusetts Humane Society on the East Coast, constructed a life saving station at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.


Pt. Bonita

Following the creation of the U.S. Life Saving Service the Golden Gate Park station became the first of five in the agency's West Coast or Twelfth District. Supplemental stations were later established at the Presidio's Fort Point, Point Reyes, Point Bonita in the Marin Headlands, and Southside at the southen end of Ocean Beach in San Francisco.


u.s. life saving service station

In 1914 the Life Saving Service merged with the Revenue-Cutter Service and the new organization became the United States Coast Guard, resulting in the renaming of the station at the Presidio as Fort Point Coast Guard Station No 323. With the introduction of the motor lifeboat and the gradual phasing out of oar-powered lifeboats, the stations at Golden Gate Park, Point Bonita, and Ocean

Beach were closed and consolidated into Station Fort Point, leaving it the only operating facility in the Bay Area. Station No. 323

For almost one hundred years Station 323 protected those who traveled on the seas; rescuing them from danger, and protecting the port from crime and attack. A need for expansion brought the U.S. Army, National Park Service, and U.S. Coast Guard to negotiations in June 1987 and a decision was reached

horseshoe cove
to move the station to East Fort Baker in Marin County. In 1990 Station Fort Point was decomissioned and its lifeboats and crew moved across the Bay to a new location at Fort Baker in the Marin Headlands.


BM2 McNally

Today, the U.S. Coast Guard is a military, multi-mission, maritime service and one of the nation's five Armed Services. Its mission is to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic interests in the nation's ports and waterways, along the coast, on international waters, or in any maritime region as required to support national security.

Station Golden Gate is one of the Coast Guard's nineteen designated surf stations and the busiest search and rescue station on the West Coast, averaging over 600 search & rescue cases and more than 300 law enforcement boardings each fiscal year. The station is one of several Bay Area units responsible for offshore or open ocean response, with an area of responsibility

MLB in surf
covering fifty nautical miles offshore from Point Reyes to Point Ano Nuevo, including the Farallon Islands and within San Francisco Bay from Bluff Point in Marin County to Pier 39 on the San Francisco waterfront.


The traditions and accomplishments of past life saving stations continue to live on in their successor at Station Golden Gate and at stations throughout the Bay Area.


Last Modified 1/12/2016