The Fifth Coast Guard District office is located in Portsmouth, Va. From these administrative offices, all Fifth District units are managed and supported. The boundaries of the Fifth Coast Guard District encompass the states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The Fifth District includes 156,000 square miles of ocean, bays, rivers, wetlands, and tidal marshes. It is one of the smallest, yet busiest, districts - protecting the world's largest natural harbor, the Chesapeake Bay, along with the Delaware Bay and all their tributaries. A large percentage of America's East Coast cargo enters through the district's eight major Coastal Zone ports: Baltimore; Morehead City, N.C.; Newport News, Va.; Philadelphia; Marcus Hook, PA; Trenton, N.J.; Wilmington, Del.; and Wilmington, N.C.
The region has a significant amount of commercial cargo traffic. This traffic typically transits the Delaware Bay to Philadelphia, and the Chesapeake Bay to Newport News and Baltimore. The majority of the traffic throughout the region is involved in domestic trade. Cargo includes petroleum products, coal, sand and gravel, and manufactured goods.
A large number of commercial fishermen also use Fifth District waterways in accordance with fisheries management plans. The fisheries management plans change the patterns of activities in an attempt to ensure adequate repopulation of each commercial species.
More than 28,000 documented commercial vessels transit the district's waterways.
The coastal areas and bays in the region support more than 1.3 million registered recreational boats.
Carrying out the Fifth District's many missions, including search and rescue, law enforcement, national security, environmental response and aids to navigation, are 4,300 active duty members and 810 reservists.
Nearly 6,800 Coast Guard Auxiliarists in the district aid in the mission of research and development of safer boating practices and equipment, and coordination and enforcement of industrial and boating safety standards.
Located within the district are seven groups , four marine safety offices, 29 cutters, including buoy tenders, ice breaking tugs, medium endurance cutters, patrol boats and river tenders, 33 small boat stations, 10 helicopters, four C-130 aircraft, nine aids-to-navigation teams, two air stations, and one communications station. The district's 6,803 federal aids to navigation help ensure safe passage along some of America's most dangerous coastlines.
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