Founded in 1987, the Netherlands Coastguard is a civilian agency headquartered at the country’s main naval base in Den Helder. According to its official website, the Kustwacht (Dutch for Coast Guard) is tasked with three key missions:
- Ensuring responsible use of the North Sea
- Providing services that contribute to safety and security at sea
- Upholding national and international laws and duties
These missions are further broken into 15 operational tasks divided between law enforcement and “provision of service.” Examples of law enforcement tasks include border control, constabulary missions, customs responsibilities, and enforcing environmental laws. Provision-of-service tasks are very much like the U.S. Coast Guard’s non–homeland security missions, such as search and rescue, responding to natural disasters, and maintaining aids to navigation.