Security Levels

National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) check current status
Coast Guard Magazine

Style Guide


This guide is provided for use by writers submitting stories to Coast Guard magazine. It is used as a supplement for the AP Stylebookę.


aboard, on board -- People and cargo are aboard a vessel or aircraft; on board refers to parts of the vessel, an on board weapons system. The expression close aboard means that two vessels are passing near each other.

aircraft names -- On first reference, use the aircraft designator and its nickname: a C-130 Hercules aircraft, an H-60 Jayhawk helicopter. On second reference, use Falcon, Dolphin, Jayhawk, etc.

abbreviations -- Except where noted otherwise in the Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual (example: AIDS is acceptable in all references) or the Coast Guard magazine style guide, spell out abbreviations and acronyms on first reference and then abbreviate in subsequent references.

aids to navigation -- Abbreviate as ATON in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

aircrew

air show

air station -- When used with a name, spell out and capitalize on first reference and abbreviate as AirSta in subsequent references. When used without a name, spell out and lower case. See abbreviations.

Atlantic Area -- Abbreviate as LantArea in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

Automated Mutual-assistance Vessel Rescue system -- Abbreviate as AMVER in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

Auxiliary, auxiliarist -- Uppercase when referring to the organization. Lowercase when referring to an individual.

Aviation Technical Training Center -- Abbreviate as ATTC in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

Aviation Training Center -- Abbreviate as ATC in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

boatcrew

capitalization -- Refer to AP stylebook capitalization section and references.

captain of the port -- Abbreviate as COTP in subsequent references. Use in addition to, not instead of, a person's rank. See abbreviations.

Central Oil Identification Laboratory -- No longer used. See Marine Safety Laboratory.

class "A" school -- Abbreviate as "A" school in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

CGC -- Acceptable in all references to Coast Guard cutters. Do not include length, hull number or class with the vessel name. Do not put names in all caps. See cutters.

Coast Guard Historian Coast Guard Mutual Assistance -- Abbreviate as CGMA in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

Columbia, Colombia -- Colombia is the country in South America.

commandant -- Do not abbreviate.

commanding officer -- Abbreviate as CO in subsequent references. Use similar rule for executive officer (XO). See abbreviations.

communications center -- Abbreviate as CommCen in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

communications station -- Abbreviate as CommSta in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

continental United States, outside the continental United States -- Abbreviate as CONUS and OUTCONUS in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

Corps of Engineers

CPR -- Acceptable in all references for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

crewman, crewmember, crewmembers -- use crewman only when the person in question is a male.

cutters -- On first reference write: the CGC Chase. In subsequent references, the Chase, the buoy tender Bittersweet, etc. Always use the before the ship name: the Chase; the CGC Chase. Do not use the pronoun she in references to ships. Use it instead. Use 378, 270, etc. - no apostrophe. Do not use barque or other description for CGC Eagle. See CGC.

datelines -- Always use service identifier before unit name: Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Refer to AP stylebook for dateline selection and formats.

deceased -- In story credit: CDR John Doe, USCG (dec.). Otherwise, deceased QM3 John Doe.

Deepwater -- Always capitalize. On first reference use the Deepwater project In subsequent references, use Deepwater.

Differential Global Positioning System -- Abbreviated as DGPS in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

district -- Always spell out in articles. Use a figure and capitalize when forming a proper name: the 2nd District. Abbreviate as Dist. with figure in headlines and credit lines: 1st Dist.

drift nets

electronics engineering center -- Abbreviate as EECen in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

electronics maintenance detachment -- Abbreviate as EMD in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

electronic support unit -- Abbreviate as ESU in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

emergency medical technician -- Abbreviate as EMT in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

electronic position indicating radio beacon -- Abbreviate as EPIRB in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

facility design and construction center -- Abbreviate as FD&CC in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

41-foot utility boat -- Use 41-footer in subsequent references.

Global Positioning System -- Abbreviate as GPS in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

Government Services Administration -- Abbreviate as GSA in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

Greater Antilles Section -- Abbreviate as GantSec in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

helicopter -- Do not abbreviate.

homeport/homeported

icebreaker

ice breaking

ice operations

integrated support command -- Abbreviate as ISC in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

law enforcement detachment -- Abbreviate as LEDET in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

lies -- The boat lies in the water, it does not sit. Past tense: The boat lay in the water.

lifeboat

lifeguard

life jacket

life line

life preserver

life raft

lifesaver

loran -- Abbreviation acceptable in all references to long range navigation. Lowercase except with formal name: Loran-C, Loran Station Baudette (subsequent references: LorSta Baudette). See abbreviations.

magazine names -- Italicize only.

Maintenance and Logistics Command Atlantic/Pacific -- Abbreviate as MLC (MLCLant, MLCPac) on subsequent references. See abbreviations.

manuals -- In first reference to a Coast Guard or other military manual, give full name with instruction number: Coast Guard Personnel Manual, COMDTINST M100.6A, COMDTNOTE.

marine inspection detachment -- Abbreviate as MID in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

marine inspection office -- Abbreviate as MIO in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

marine safety center -- Abbreviate as MSC in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

marine safety detachment -- Abbreviate as MSD in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

Marine Safety Laboratory -- Do not abbreviate. On subsequent references, the laboratory is acceptable where it would not be confusing. (Located in Groton, Conn. Was known as COIL until mid '90s.)

marine safety office -- Abbreviate as MSO in subsequent references; capitalize when used with unit name: Marine Safety Office Seattle. See abbreviations.

MCPOCG -- Always abbreviate when used before individual's name: MCPOCG Vince Patton. Otherwise, spell out and lower case in first reference.

medevac

military titles -- Use Coast Guard magazine style for Coast Guard enlisted members (rate/rank: BM3, YNC) and chief warrant officers (CWO; do not use grade). Use Associated Press style for officers and other services' enlisted members. Apply the AP style for officers to civilians holding the same title: Chief of Police Capt. Aaron Stubing. Cadets: Cadet John Aaron.

officer in charge -- Abbreviate as OIC in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

offshore

officer of the day -- Abbreviate as OOD in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

on scene, on-scene -- On-scene is the adjective: the on-scene commander. On scene is the prepositional phrase: The cutter arrived on scene.

Pacific Area -- Abbreviate as PacArea in subsequent reference. See abbreviations

Personnel Command, Washington -- Abbreviate as PersCom in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

personnel reporting unit -- Abbreviate as persru or Persru in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

Public affairs detachment - - Abbreviate as PADET in subsequent references.

research and development center -- Abbreviate as RDC in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

retired -- In stories: retired Lt.j.g. John Doe. In credits: Lt. John Doe, USCG (ret.).

rigid-hull inflatable boat -- Abbreviate as RHIB in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

search and rescue -- Abbreviate as SAR in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

servicewide

servicewide exam -- Abbreviate as SWE in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

smallboat, small boat -- When used as a noun, smallboat refers to 44-foot motor lifeboat, 41-foot utility boat, 17-foot rigid hull inflatable or similar utility craft. When used as a description for a civilian vessel, two words: There was a small boat sinking near the jetty.

SOS

tactical law enforcement team -- Abbreviate as TACLET in subsequent references. Identify with numeral and letter: TACLET 8B.

Total Quality Management -- Abbreviate as TQM in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

training center -- Abbreviate as TraCen in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

unitas -- Latin for unity; not an acronym/abbreviation.

vessel traffic service -- Abbreviate as VTS in subsequent references. See abbreviations.

watchstander

Work-Life


Coast Guard Magazine, COMDT PUB P5720.2, is produced for members of the U.S. Coast Guard. Editorial content is unofficial and not authority for action. Views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Homeland Security or the Coast Guard. Stories may be reprinted except Associated Press Wire Stories and articles reprinted from other publications.


Download Plug-Ins
Download Plug-Ins: Some of the links on this page require a plug-in to view them. Links to the plug-ins are available below.
Click Here to Download Adobe Acrobat Reader Adobe Acrobat Reader (PDF)
Last Modified 9/19/2013