The Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association Inc is a voluntary civilian organisation of men and women formed to provide safety on our waterways, train boat users in all aspects of safe small boat handling and contribute effectively to the search and rescue operations. Coast Guard is a registered charity and a volunteer non-profit organisation. All members are dedicated professional volunteers who freely give up their spare time to provide this service.

A National Board which controls the principles and policies of the organisation and a series of Squadrons throughout the country governs the Association. Flotillas emanate from the Squadrons and these consist of members who work together in harmony for the promotion of safety and efficiency in operation, navigation and maintenance of small craft and education of the public as well as its members.

In December 1960, during a meeting of the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Club in Victoria, "Small Boat Safety" was discussed. Among those present at the meeting were Olga Toolen (one of five people who started the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron and now Promotions Officer for North Queensland Squadron), W. Down, E. Madden and J. Madden (no relation to Ted.). Ted Madden was a professional journalist, author of several books and wrote for many newspapers. Ted Madden, Operations Officer of the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Club and other members of the Motor Yacht Club were running a safety patrol (of sorts) for the benefit of their members but not for members of the public.

On 17th January 1961 an article concerning the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and on 6th February 1961 Ted Madden sent a letter to the US. Coast Guard requesting further information. A reply with a great deal of information was received on 14th February 1961.from Captain Richard Baxter, USCG Chief Director of the Auxiliary. Information included Manuals, Bibliography, Leaflets and an eight-page lesson plan.

As no organization was active in the field of "Small Boat Safety", the group from the Yacht Squadron decided to take some action to enhance pleasure boating safety, especially in small boats, not only to instruct and educate boat owners in safe boating practices but to promote safety by example. With these objectives and the continuing concern for safe boating, the Australian Coast Guard was formed. The first order of the Australian Coast Guard was drafted on 14th September 1961 and a provisional Flotilla, VF1 Melbourne, was formed. The first Public Instruction Course (PIC) was held on 8th November 1961 at Ormond.

A National Board was formed on 18th December 1961 with W. Peterson being the first National Commodore, E. Madden National Vice Commodore and J. Madden National Rear Commodore and acting National Staff Commodore.

The Boat Master's Jack was introduced and the first "Boatmaster's Jack" received from the manufacturers was presented to USCO Captain Baxter by the Australian Ambassador in Washington.

In May 1962 the first Woman member, Sylvia Blogg was admitted. A Ladies Flotilla was formed at Huntingdale and in August 1962 saw the official formation of the eighth Victorian Flotilla at Geelong under the personal guidance of Jack Madden. Sir Rohan Delacombe was appointed Honorary National Commodore. The eight Flotillas were VF1 Ormond; VF2 Brighton; VF3 Frankston; VF4 Burwood; VF5 Footscray; VF6 Parsons Marine; VF8 Geelong; VF13 Huntingdale.

In April 1963 the name 'Australian Coast Guard' was changed to the Australian Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The Eagle Anchor device of the Auxilliary was designed by the Art Department of television Channel 2.

On 26th September 1963, W.N. Henry was given authority by the National Board to form a unit in South Australia and became the first Group Commodore in South Australia. His influence was evident at State and National level for the next three decades.

Mr. L. Swift, VF1 became National Training Commodore in 1964, the National Commodore in 1967, taking up the role of National Training Commodore again in 1977 and Deputy National Commodore in 1982. Commodore Swift was also the National Publications Officer who was responsible for the editing and printing of all the national publications.

Eight Flotillas had now been formed in Victoria and four Flotillas in South Australia. New South Wales, another of the founding Squadrons followed in early 1967 under the direction of Acting Commodore Ernest Tree. Queensland followed in May 1967 under the direction of Commodore Reg Leigh Smith, who was to become the first State Commodore.

Members and Units of the AVCGA have received various awards for their services but tragically several members have paid the absolute sacrifice. Commodore E. Madden was made a National Life Member in 1967.

The Association continues to guard the Coast in the most efficient way initially by the three "E's", Education, Examination Example and finally by Search and Rescue and is epitomized in the Association's Motto, "SAFETY BY ALL MEANS".