Cape May, New Jersey
Congratulations on your assignment to USCGC VIGOROUS! All of us aboard VIGOROUS look forward to your arrival and are committed to making your transfer and integration into the team as smooth as possible.
Homeported in Cape May, NJ, VIGOROUS generally deploys 185 days a year to a variety of operating areas extending from the Gulf of Maine to the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Our primary mission areas include Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, Alien Migrant Interdiction and Environmental Protection. An average patrol length is 45-60 days.
The uniform usually worn during the workday is the Operational Dress Uniform.
VIGOROUS is a tenant command of Training Center Cape May (TRACEN), and as such enjoys a number of amenities which include:
Please review the TRACEN’s web pages for the latest information on their support services available to you and your family.
VIGOROUS normally moors at Pier 3 (behind the fire station and Station Cape May). Inport, our normal working hours are 0700-1515, Tuesday - Friday with Saturday, Sunday and Monday as liberty days.
The ship’s phone number while in homeport is 609-898-6800.
Your mailing address will be:
ATTN: YOUR NAME
USCGC VIGOROUS (WMEC 627)
c/o USCG Training Center Cape May
1 Munro Avenue
Cape May, NJ 08204
Points of Contact
You should receive a sponsor message or email shortly after receiving your orders. If you do not receive a message or an email from VIGOROUS, please contact YN1 Robert Chmielewski to make sure a sponsor has been assigned to you.
Please email or call your sponsor at your earliest convenience and I strongly encourage you to directly discuss transportation to Cape May, housing options, duty schedules, expectations, cutter deployment schedules and general shipboard life.
Members without Dependents (Single Individuals)
Members without dependents will be temporarily berthed aboard the cutter. If you are E-4 and above, you can elect to live on the economy and receive Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) AFTER obtaining a release from mandatory housing.
Enlisted members without dependents may also request berthing in the Unaccompanied Personnel Housing (UPH) Barracks, Bruckenthal Hall.
The UPH consist of 73 permanent party rooms. The average permanent party berthing room, excluding the private bathroom, is about 320 square feet. Each room is provided with a separate three-fixture bathroom that includes toilet, shower, and sink. The basic furnishings provided for each member are a bed, nightstand, locker, desk, wastebasket, lamp, and a desk chair. Each room contains a micro-fridge (combination compact refrigerator with microwave) for use by all occupants assigned to the room. E-4 and above will normally be assigned a private room and E-3 and below will be assigned two persons to a room. VIGOROUS will coordinate putting individuals on the waiting list for a UPH room after formally reporting aboard.
Unaccompanied Members with Dependents (Geographic Bachelors)
Members who report to VIGOROUS without their dependents will be temporarily berthed aboard the cutter.
Duty aboard VIGOROUS is considered arduous. As such, an alternative to either government owned housing or living on the economy in Cape May, your family may elect to remain in the vicinity of your old PDS, giving you the opportunity to collect the higher of the two BAH rates. Your BAH rate at the location of your dependents will remain in effect until you depart PCS from VIGOROUS or move your family to the Cape May area. Contact your Servicing Personnel Office for guidance on requesting BAH rate protection if considering leaving your family at a previous duty station.
Accompanied Members with Dependents
Members with dependents have the option of Coast Guard military housing or requesting to live on the economy AFTER obtaining a release from mandatory housing.
consists of 172 government housing units ranging from 2 to 4 bedrooms. Eligibility for family housing is governed by the Coast Guard Housing Manual. The TRACEN Housing Office makes all assignments to quarters based on their waiting list.
Families waiting for housing may be eligible to stay in temporary MWR quarters on base. Hotels can be very expensive during the summer with limited availability, with increased availability as you proceed north toward Atlantic City. In the winter, some hotels shut down, so check availability early.
Local Housing Trends
Cape May County has a significant influx of tourists in the summer months, making year round rental property challenging to obtain. Start research early for housing options. The TRACEN Housing Office can provide additional information on local housing opportunities.
Medical and What to Bring
Please have the following documents available when you report:
- Unit PDR
- Medical Record
- Training Record
You must also have a current physical exam with sea duty substitution, be Class 1 dental, and if you need glasses, have two (2) pairs of them. You must have current PPD, typhoid, TET-DIP, yellow fever, HEP-A, and have a DNA card completed.
The nearest commercial airport is Atlantic City International Airport, 45 miles from Cape May. Its disadvantage is the limited number of commercial flights and servicing air carriers. Ground transportation can be from taxi/limousine which usually costs approx $45-$70 depending on the time of year. New Jersey Transit Bus is another option (see below).
The nearest major commercial airport is Philadelphia International Airport. It is approximately 98 miles drive from Cape May. Ground transportation can be from taxi/limousine which usually costs approx $175-$275. Other services may exist and be cheaper depending on the time of year. Ground transportation to Atlantic City may be a cheaper option. Commercial rail via New Jersey Transit to Atlantic City is another option (see below).
AMTRAK serves the East Coast and stops at Philadelphia’s 34th Street Station. From there, New Jersey Transit rail service goes to Atlantic City. It runs seven days a week and as a commuter rail runs more frequently on weekdays. From Atlantic City, ground transportation can be from taxi/limousine which usually costs approx $45-$70 depending on the time of year. New Jersey Transit Bus is another option (see below).
New Jersey Transit buses serve the entire state of New Jersey and bordering metropolitan regions. Atlantic City is a major hub and a bus route runs from Atlantic City though Cape May County to the Cape May Welcome Center, approx one mile from the base. Military members can receive the senior citizen discount. Fare from Atlantic City to Cape May is approx $2.50.
There are a variety of routes available to get to Cape May and online maps should be consulted for those unfamiliar with New Jersey. Geographically, Cape May is at the very southern tip of New Jersey and located at the end of the New Jersey Parkway. At the end of the Parkway, the road enters Cape May and there are prominent signs pointing to the Coast Guard base. Traffic in the summer can be very high, especially around weekends as people head into and out of Cape May. Winter traffic is nonexistent.
A planning factor in driving to Cape May is the tolls on New Jersey highways. For permanent residents, an EZ Pass transponder is useful for going through tolls without stopping and having your credit card automatically billed. The EZ pass web page is also useful for links to locations of various toll roads.
An option for those travelling from the south is the ferry between Cape May and Lewes, Delaware. This runs on a regular basis throughout the year and can save considerable driving time from many southern points.
Parking is available and plentiful on base.
If VIGOROUS is Underway…
If VIGOROUS is underway on your report date, you should report to the Training Center Cape May Servicing Personnel Office (SPO), in the Administration building, second floor, room 217, between the hours of 0800-1500 in Tropical Blue with your orders. They will endorse your orders, process your personal information, and make arrangements for you to meet the ship as soon as possible. In the mean time, personnel will be assigned temporary duty at Training Center Cape May or a neighboring cutter in Cape May. Under limited circumstances and with permission from VIGOROUS and the TAD command, leave or special liberty may be granted.
Every attempt will be made to have TAD personnel ashore meet the cutter at the earliest opportunity. This means that you may receive short notice Government funded travel orders to meet the ship. Be prepared to travel with 24-48 hours notice.