Changes to Coast Guard career sea pay

The Coast Guard recently revised the three-table sea pay system in an effort to increase compensation for career afloat personnel. The new five-table system takes into consideration desirability of different cutter platforms, personnel tempo, deployment lengths and programmed operational hours.

6 comments
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Charles Mark Barney.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Charles Mark Barney.

Starting in January 2017, Coast Guard members attached to afloat units will begin to see something a little different when it comes to career sea pay rates.

The Coast Guard recently revised the three-table sea pay system in an effort to increase compensation for career afloat personnel. The new five-table system takes into consideration desirability of different cutter platforms, personnel tempo, deployment lengths and programmed operational hours.

With the new tables, members who return to sea for multiple assignments will receive an overall increase in sea pay, whereas members serving first-tour assignments will see a decrease. In addition, anyone who is assigned temporary duty aboard a cutter, regardless of their permanent duty station, will receive pay commensurate with the level of cutter on which they are temporarily assigned. For example, a crewmember at Sector San Diego who goes on a four-week deployment with Coast Guard Cutter Sherman would receive level 4 sea pay for his time aboard.

Here is a breakdown of the new levels and what the new pay tables will look like:

Level 1:

Level 1 cutters and assignments will consist of inland buoy tenders (WLI), small harbor tugs (WYTL), afloat training organizations and deployed aviation detachments.

Level 1 sea pay table
Level 1 sea pay table

Level 2:

Level 2 cutters and assignments will consist of icebreaking tugs (WTGB), patrol boats (WPB), inland construction tenders (WLIC), river buoy tenders (WLR), and coastal buoy tenders (WLM).

Level 2 sea pay table.
Level 2 sea pay table.

Level 3:

Level 3 cutters and assignments will include the Great Lakes icebreaker (WLBB), seagoing buoy tenders (WLB), fast response cutters (WPC), and deployed TACLET units.

Level 3 sea pay table.
Level 3 sea pay table.

Level 4:

Level 4 cutters and assignments will include Coast Guard Barque Eagle, non-Alaskan medium endurance cutters (WMEC), non-Alaskan high endurance cutters (WHEC), non-Alaskan offshore patrol cutters (WMSM), PATFORSWA, deployed PATFORSWA cutter support teams and permanent duty aboard sea pay-eligible non-Coast Guard vessels.

Level 4 sea pay table.
Level 4 sea pay table.

Level 5:

Level 5 cutters and assignments will include heavy icebreakers (WAGB), national security cutters (WMSL) and Alaska-based medium endurance cutters, high endurance cutters and offshore patrol cutters.

Level 5 sea pay table.
Level 5 sea pay table.

The changes came after consulting with rating force master chiefs, the gold and silver badge command master chief network and the master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard.

“We made a conscious decision to shift most of the sea pay increases to mid-level enlisted paygrades in an effort to incentivize them to return to sea duty assignments,” said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Steven Cantrell. “A three-level system just wasn’t enough, and it didn’t allow flexibility to change with the times. These changes don’t take place in a vacuum – a lot of decision and a lot of discussion went into these just to get it right.”

You can learn more about these new changes by watching the Paratus Report and hear what else Cantrell, the Silver Ancient Mariner, and Rear Adm. Fred Midgette, the Gold Ancient Mariner, had to say.

If you have questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to leave them in the comments below and All Hands will get you the answers and information you need. Cantrell also invites Coast Guard members to ask questions on his official Facebook page if they have specific questions regarding these changes.

6 comments on “Changes to Coast Guard career sea pay”

  1. Complicated accounting, individual guardians will be well served to keep a personal log of assignments on almost a daily basis. How will duty assignments to something like the Polar Star be handled while the ship is in an extended repair availability, will crew lose pay?

  2. So, my sea pay DROPS $60 a month. Sounds like a good deal for Uncle Sam. I’m a PERMANENT Cutterman…but I doubt this will ever get posted, because there’s always ZERO comments on this site.

    1. kakello,

      This was a budget-neutral adjustment, meaning the total amount that Coast Guard members are being paid is the same as the previous set of sea pay tables. The amounts of money were just shifted to increase the payment to members in paygrades and at units where research showed weren’t requesting sea duty assignments as much as the others.

      Chief Kyle Niemi
      Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard

  3. A 378 was a dream to be on in comparison to a 270, which was a 3 year nightmare. I would rather have done three years of nothing but ALPATS on a 378 than even two years of all south patrols on a 270.

Leave a Reply