This Day in Coast Guard History – Dec. 22
1819-The Revenue cutter Dallas seized a vessel laden with lumber that had been unlawfully cut from public land in one of the first recorded instances of a revenue cutter enforcing an environmental law.
1837-Congress authorized President "to cause any suitable number of public vessels, adapted to the purpose, to cruise upon the coast, in the severe portion of the season, and to afford aid to distressed navigators." This was the first statute authorizing activities in the field of maritime safety, thus interjecting the national government into the field of lifesaving for the first time. Although revenue cutters were specifically mentioned, the performance of this duty was imposed primarily upon the Revenue Marine Service and quickly became one of its major activities.
(Source: USCG Historian’s Office)