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Updated 05/09/2013


Semper Paratus
Captain Francis Saltus Van Boskerck

Semper Paratus (Latin for "Always Prepared") is the official slogan of the United States Coast Guard. A march by that name is also the official march of the Coast Guard.  The origin of the phrase is obscure; however, the Coast Guard Historian's Office notes the first use was by the New Orleans Bee newspaper in the 1830s, referring to the actions of the Revenue Cutter Service.

The original music and lyrics (and the version here) were written by Captain Francis Saltus Van Boskerck in 1927. The current verse, as well as a second chorus, were written by Homer Smith, 3rd Naval District Coast Guard quartet, Chief Cole, Walton Butterfield in 1943. In 1969 the first line of each verse was changed.

Lyrics by Capt. Francis Saltus Van Boskerk

From Aztec Shore to Arctic Zone,
To Europe and Far East,
The Flag is carried by our ships
In times of war and peace;
And never have we struck it yet,
In spite of foemen's might,
Who cheered our crews and cheered again
For showing how to fight.

We're always ready for the call,
We place our trust in Thee.
Through surf and storm and howling gale,
High shall our purpose be,
Semper Paratus" is our guide,
Our fame, our glory, too.
To fight to save or fight and die!
Aye! Coast Guard, we are for you.


Surveyor" and "Narcissus,"
The "Eagle" and "Dispatch,"
The "Hudson" and the "Tampa,"
These names are hard to match;
From Barrow's shores to Paraguay,

Great Lakes' or Ocean's wave,
The Coast Guard fights through storms and winds
To punish or to save.


Aye! We've been "Always Ready"
To do, to fight, or die!
Write glory to the shield we wear
In letters to the sky.
To sink the foe or save the maimed
Our mission and our pride.
We'll carry on 'til Kingdom Come
Ideals for which we've died.