GUARDIANS OF THE GULF
Coast Guard Base Coast Guard Section Base No.21 was commissioned on the north side of Bayboro Harbor in 1924. Sixteen cutters ranging from 75 to 125 feet were stationed here for the purpose of conducting anti-smuggling patrols. The base was decommissioned in 1933 to coincide with the lifting of Prohibition.
The Coast Guard commissioned a station on the south side of Bayboro Harbor in 1928 and an air station was commissioned on the north side just six years later. The air station was constructed by the Works Projects Administration and was home to as many as 19 sea and scout planes during the height of WW II. The hangar and oversized boat ramp are examples of the facilities that remain from the original air station.
When Air Station St. Petersburg relocated to Clearwater in 1976, Group/Station St. Petersburg moved into the vacated facilities on the north side of the harbor. The south side was converted into cutter moorings for aids to navigation tenders and medium endurance cutters. Group/Station St. Petersburg now encompassed both the north and south side of Bayboro Harbor totaling more than 22 acres. In 1997, the facility underwent a reorganization that defined Group ST. Petersburg as the host command, responsible for the entire facility
The average age of facilities on base is 55 years and 76 % of the Group's infrastructure on the north side is the same infrastructure used by the original air station from 1935 to 1976. Since the relocation of the Air Station to Clearwater. there has been very little done to modernize facilities. As a result. older buildings that no longer adequately support modern operational functions, as well as ever-increasing costs for routine maintenance and service contracts challenge current commands at the St. Petersburg site. Despite infrastructure concerns, the overall land configuration of the north and south sides (or "'moorings") effectively meets various functional requirements.
The North Moorings is broken down into four main areas: an administrative area, where the Group offices, command center and medical building are located; the waterfront support area; the industrial area, in and around the hangar; and the community support or historical "'campus" area, containing the base club, pool and galley facilities.
One of the more historically interesting aspects of the campus area is the George Snow Hill mural that covers the walls of the officers and chiefs Mess. Commissioned by the Federal government in 1936 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's WPA program, this work of art was meant to depict the many missions of the Coast Guard throughout its history. The mural, which wraps around all four walls from floor to ceiling, has been praised by historians and artists from agencies such as the Florida State Division of Historical Resources and the WPA Arts Committee.
At the South Moorings, the old station buildings were turned over to the Coast Guard Reserve and Auxiliary. In addition, buildings were constructed to house the Exchange and later a Maintenance Augmentation Team. The South Moorings also features a large parcel of undeveloped land that could be used to construct new facilities when and if needed.
Group St. Petersburg has become one of the Coast Guard's largest commands, with its area of responsibility encompassing 370 plus nautical miles of coastline along Florida's west coast and the third largest U.S. port for domestic trade. In terms of total trade volume, including both domestic and foreign, the Port of Tampa ranks 12'h nationally. The Group's five multi-mission small boat stations, four patrol boats, two aids to navigation cutters. and one aids to navigation team have responsibility for four primary operational missions: Search and Rescue; Maritime Homeland Security; Law Enforcement (including drug and alien smuggling, fisheries and other living marine resource regulations, and boating safety); and Waterways Management (including aids to navigation.). Each year Group St. Petersburg personnel conduct, on average, more than 2600 rescue cases, assisting more than 7000 people and preserving property valued at 39 million dollars. The integrated Coast Guard team that carries out the Group's operational missions is comprised of 340 Regular Military, more than 220 Reserve Military, 4 Civilian, and 2, I00 Auxiliary personnel.
The tragic events of September 11, 2001, brought sweeping changes to the Coast Guard’s operational environment which reinforced the importance of a unified command construct that increases interaction and coordination between operational commands and interagency partners as well as share information and intelligence more rapidly than before.
The Coast Guard’s response to this new environment was to integrate traditional Marine Safety Offices (MSOs), Groups, Vessel Traffic Services (VTSs), and in some cases Air Stations, having largely or entirely the same Areas of Responsibility (AORs), into Sector commands. These new units will create unity of command in America’s ports, better align field command structures, and improve Coast Guard operational shore functions into a single Sector Command through an organizational structure that draws together the full range of Coast Guard missions and melds the organizational and cultural strengths of Coast Guard operational communities. Sector St. Petersburg is organized into multiple departments and direct 15 subordinate units
USCG SECTOR ST. PETERSBURG
600 8TH AVE, S.E.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL 33701