Miami Law Students and Professors Interested in Maritime and Environmental Law


Rising early on the Friday morning before spring break, a group of Miami law students and professors visited U.S. Coast Guard Sector Miami to learn about the Coast Guard's missions and operations. Organized by Miami Law student Lieutenant Spencer Roach, 2L, the trip was a great success.

Lieutenant Roach explained that "the Coast Guard is unique among both military services and federal agencies in that it is the only entity in the federal government that is simultaneously a branch of the armed services, a regulatory agency with federal rule-making authority, and a domestic law enforcement agency. Yet despite the wide-ranging and diverse mission-set of the Coast Guard, including environmental protection, fisheries regulations, narcotic and immigration enforcement, and disaster response, I find that most people know relatively little about the organization. So I love showing off our service and explaining to the public exactly what the Coast Guard does."

Upon arrival, students and professors toured Sector Miami and were introduced to Coast Guard operations. The group also had the privilege to go underway on the Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin around Dodge Island in Miami. Students and professors observed the crew prepare for its next patrol, while learning about the cutter's primary operations of search and rescue and homeland security.

While most students were curious about issues regarding narcotic and immigration enforcement and boating safety, the group also learned about the daily routines of Coast Guard members onboard the cutter. To gain a better understanding of life at sea, the visitors toured the main deck, the bridge, and living quarters.

Immediately after returning to port, the group was treated to a tour of the Sector Command Center, where operations are coordinated among Coast Guard vessels and other governmental agencies. Here, Coast Guard members track operations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

All enjoyed learning about the Coast Guard through this exciting visit. "The private tour of Sector Miami and cruise aboard USCGC Dolphin was one of the most memorable experiences that I have had as a law student," commented Scott Herndon, 2L. "I was extremely impressed by the generosity of the Coast Guard servicemen and servicewomen who took the time to explain their jobs to us. The Port of Miami is extremely busy and I now have a much better understanding of how important their jobs are."

Students and professors were very appreciative to have this unique opportunity. Robert de Flesco, 3L, reflected, "It was an honor and a privilege to spend time with those trusted to protect our borders."