About U.S. Coast Guard Cutters
The US Coast Guard plays a critical role in America’s maritime activity, protecting the coastline through law enforcement and search and rescue initiatives.
They work alongside the military to defend the United States and currently employ 38,000 active-duty and 8,000 reserve force members of the military.
U.S. Coast Guard cutters all receive the USCGC designation before their names and carry crews of 75 to 150 people. Cutters were initially used by the Coast Guard in regular patrol and search and rescue activities.
However, the Navy began to deploy cutters in their military efforts during wartime, leading to the Coast Guard becoming a branch of the military service.
During this time, asbestos was a popular shipbuilding material because it is light, inexpensive and highly resistant to water.
Why Asbestos Was Used on Ships
Asbestos has fire-proofing and insulating capabilities — both ideal qualities for materials used in a contained environment like a water vessel.
At first glance, asbestos seemed like the perfect material for the Coast Guard and other military branches to use in their ships, and it was a favored construction substance for several decades.
Sadly, many U.S. Coast Guard veterans are now being diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-caused diseases.