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MSD Sturgeon Bay Unit Information

Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Sturgeon Bay is a multi mission unit responsible for executing the Coast Guard’s Port Safety and Security, Marine Environmental Protection, and Commercial Vessel Safety missions under the Department of Homeland Security.


Photo Image Area of Responsibility

The MSD’s AOR includes 22 facilities that are subject to the Maritime Transportation and Security Act (MTSA) of 2002, as well as 12 oil transfer facilities regulated under 33CFR154 &156.  In an average year, the MSD AOR receives 150 foreign vessel arrivals, of which 20 come from ports in Europe or South America with the remainder coming from Canadian ports.  Our area of responsibility extends 35 nautical miles offshore and includes all navigable waters of Western Lake Michigan from the city of Kewuanee, WI,  North to Cedar River, MI (just N. of Menominee, MI) covering over 300 miles of coastline.  MSD Sturgeon Bay is a subordinate unit of Sector Lake Michigan under the Prevention Department since MSO Milwaukee was decommissioned and the Sector was stood-up on July 29, 2005.  The MSD coordinates all Marine Safety activities in the northwest region of the Sector’s AOR.


The MSD is billeted with a 8 person staff comprised of a Lieutenant Commander, a Lieutenant, two Marine Safety Specialist Chief Warrant Officers, a civilian Marine Inspector,  a First Class Marine Science Technician, and a Second Class Marine Science Technician.  Currently, the MSD has an over-billet Marine Science Technician Third Class assigned as well.  The Marine Science Technicians are charged with conducting the MTSA and traditional Facility Exams, responding to oil spills and vessel casualties, processing foreign vessel arrivals, and conducting armed and unarmed shore-side Security Patrols.


MSD Sturgeon Bay’s devoted group of professional active duty personnel protect the busiest and most dynamic port areas in Wisconsin. They perform a variety of tasks each day, ranging from conducting port security patrols, processing vessel arrivals, inspecting U. S. and foreign commercial vessels, and conducting waterfront facility exams for compliance with federal regulations.  In the spring the MSD conducts, along with USCG AUX members, numerous Uninspected Passenger Vessel inspections as well as, Commercial Fishing Vessel Inspections. 

The MSD has three new-construction/repair shipyards in the AOR; Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette, WI;  Bay Shipbuilding Corp. in Sturgeon Bay, WI; and Basic Marine in Escanaba, MI which provide the bulk of the day-to-day related activities.  Contrary to what you might think, the winter months are the busy time of the year for the MSD since an average of 16 to 18 U.S. Flagged deep draft vessels “lay-up” in Sturgeon Bay for winter work and the MSD also works with the repairs and activities on the 4 to 6 vessels that “lay-up” in Milwaukee.  In recent years, the number of winter vessels has been on the rise with a peak of 25 deep draft vessels in for winter work.  This number is significant given that there are a total of only 57 deep draft vessels in the U.S. Great Lakes fleet.  This winter work starts around the December timeframe and ends in mid-April.  During these months, the Marine Inspectors of the MSD will conduct Annual, Periodic, and Certificate of Inspection (COI), and Dry-Dock inspections on most of these vessels.  A typical winter Dry Docking will last for 2 to 4 weeks per vessel and require between 50 and 100 man-hours of attendance by the MSD’s Marine Inspectors.  The MSD Marine Inspectors also oversee the construction of new commercial vessels.  Most of the new construction is related to the oversight of new double-hulled oil tank barges that sail internationally.  These barges average between 110,000 and 140,000 barrel capacity each for the carriage of Grade A to Grade E oils.  In addition, the MSD oversaw the construction of 3 replacement ferries for service in Staten Island New York.  Each of these double ended ferries is capable of carrying 4425 passengers per trip and cost over $33 million to build.

In addition to the deep draft work, the MSD inspectors also maintain a small fleet of 20 Inspected Small Passenger Vessels located principally in Milwaukee and Washington Island at the extreme extents of the AOR. 

In an average year, the MSD also responds to multiple oil spills, and hazardous material releases, and at several vessel groundings/collisions/allisions throughout the northern portion of the AOR. 


MSD Sturgeon Bay is located at the address above and is adjacent to the Sturgeon Bay High School.  There are two other Coast Guard units in town, Station Sturgeon Bay and the CGC Mobile Bay.  In total, there are over 75 active duty CG members in a town of 9400 people.  The closest city with a larger population center is Green Bay which is about 50 miles south.  Sturgeon Bay is the largest city in Door County and both are well known tourist spots primarily for travelers from the Milwaukee/Chicago area 3 to 5 hours south.  Summers are relatively short with average temperatures in the upper 70’s to low 80’s for the months of July and August.  Winters are quite cold at times, with the first snowfall before Thanksgiving and all navigable waters freezing solid by late December.  Hunting and fishing are robust activities in the area throughout the year.  The centerpiece of the community is the local YMCA which has large gymnasiums, free & fixed weights, indoor Olympic swimming pool, a large family pool, gymnastics facilities, and an indoor track.  The MSD has 4 passes for use by members of the unit at the YMCA.

Local Housing rates for BAH are low compared to the prevailing rent & home sale market as the housing marked is primarily tied to the tourist industry.  However, there are 18 Coast Guard Owned homes that are distributed throughout the city of Sturgeon Bay which are available to those that qualify.  Each is a single family home with 3 or 4 bedrooms and a garage.  Average sizes are between 1250 and 1550 sq. ft. and all are maintained in good condition. 

The local public school systems in the area are among the best in the nation.  Wisconsin is typically in the top three of all states each year based on 4th, 8th, and 11th grade standardized tests.  The 3 school districts (Sevastapol, Sturgeon Bay, and Southern Door) are usually the top 3 rated districts in the state.  Thus, children here receive an outstanding opportunity for an education.

Local hospitals and medical is under the Tricare Prime Remote and is also outstanding.  Full facilities are located in Sturgeon Bay with specialized care as needed via the hospital network in Green Bay, Madison, and Milwaukee.  Overall, the quality of healthcare is exceptional. 

For more information concerning MSD Sturgeon Bay please contact DC2 David Jones at and David Keymon


Last Modified 9/23/2013