A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 25, 2013
Puddle Pirate (Coast Guard member nickname)

The United States Coast Guard is part of the United States Armed Forces and was created by Congress in 1790 as the “Revenue Marine.” The Coast Guard operates in mostly the shallow waters of the coast, leading to the nickname “puddle pirate.” “Puddle pirate” has been cited in print since at least 1992. The nickname can be derogatory or not, depending on the use.

A member of the United States Coast Guard is also called a “Coastie.”

Wikipedia: United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the country’s seven uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the U.S. military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission (with jurisdiction in both domestic and international waters) and a federal regulatory agency mission as part of its mission set. It operates under the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime, and can be transferred to the Department of the Navy by the President at any time, or by Congress during time of war.

Created by Congress on 4 August 1790 at the request of Alexander Hamilton as the “Revenue Marine”, it is the United States’ oldest continuous seagoing service (although the United States Navy lists its founding as being in 1775, with the formation of the Continental Navy, the modern US Navy has been in service since 1794). As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton headed the Revenue Marine, whose original purpose was that of a collector of customs duties in the nation’s seaports. By the 1860s the service was known as the United States Revenue Cutter Service and the term Revenue Marine gradually fell into disuse. The Coast Guard was formed from the merger of the Revenue Cutter Service and the United States Life-Saving Service on 28 January 1915. As one of the nation’s five armed services, the Coast Guard was involved in every war from 1790 to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Google Books
For His Honor
By Terry Johnson and Kay D. Rizzo
Boise, ID: Pacific Press Pub. Association
Pg. 107:
“Remember the ‘puddle pirate’ who flaked, right on the White House lawn?” The men laughed as one of the old-timers told the embarrassing story of the coast guardsman who passed out while standing at attention.

Google Groups: alt.folklore.military
Interservice derogatory nicknames
Steve Sample
Coast Guard -> Puddle Pirates
Marines -> Bullet Sponges

Snopes.com Message Board
Topic: Derogatory service names
posted 10 June, 2002 04:21 AM
Air Force - blue shirts
Navy - squids
Marines - bullet sponges
Coast Guard - Puddle Pirates

Urban Dictionary
puddle pirate
A US Coast Guard member. derogatory.
Navy Sailor: thanks for staying home and watching the coasts, puddle pirate.
Coastie: Someone needs to keep those navy wives warm at night.

by theunknowngl Oct 16, 2004

Google Books
Your Mother Wears Combat Boots:
Humorous, Harrowing and Heartwarming Stories of Military Women

By Michele Hunter Mirabile
Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse
Pg. 127:
You’ve heard all the nicknames: Army infantry are called ground pounders, Marines are bullet magnets and jarheads, the Navy are squids, the Coast Guard are puddle pirates, and the Air Force are the “Army Air Corps” (mainly because they take offense to it) and the chair force because they are sometimes perceived by the other services to be lazy.

Military.com Forums—Coast Guard Discussions
Puddle pirate is a bad term or a good term?
posted Fri 13 July 2007 07:23 PM
Said by other Coasties a term of endearment.
Said by other members of the Armed Forces, cause for an attitude adjustment seminar. ( sometimes forceful)

Charlie McCall‏
As much as I’d like to just call them “puddle pirates”, the men and women of the @USCG are tough. Especially Rescue Swimmers.
10:09 AM - 23 Aug 13

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Sunday, August 25, 2013 • Permalink