The United Arab Emirates Coast Guard is the official coast guard agency of the United Arab Emirates and is primarily responsible for the protection of the UAE's coastline through regulation of maritime laws, maintenance of seamarks, border control, anti-smuggling operations and other services. The UAE Coast Guard is an affiliated branch of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces and works in close coordination with the United Arab Emirates Navy.
The UAE Coast Guard was first established in 1977 under the control of the UAE Ministry of Interior. Its initial role was a para-military one rather than a Navy. It was used to patrol maritime borders and intercept foreign small craft that illegally entered its waters. Thus, its role was framed as a law enforcement issue rather than a military responsibility.
The Coast Guard remained under Ministry of Interior control until 2001 when control was transferred to the UAE Navy. This change was likely in response to increased concern over the possibility of terrorist attacks on critical infrastructure in the UAE's littoral zone and on its islands in the post-9/11 world, and the effectiveness of the Coast Guard in countering this threat.
By the beginning of 2004, the Coast Guard had become a separate service within the UAE Armed Forces, and was no longer the responsibility of the Navy. In general, the Coast Guard has been responsible for all law-enforcement activities across the country's ports, as well as inshore and offshore waters, as far as this is within its capabilities. In areas where the Coast guard is unable to do this, the Navy is expected to assume the Coast Guard's responsibility.
In 2010, the coast guard awarded the Abu Dhabi Ship Building Co (ADSB) a contract to build 12 patrol boats branded as the "Al-Saber" class. The agency was under attention in August 2010 when UAE Coast Guard officials foiled a terrorist attack on a Japanese oil tanker which was damaged in the Strait of Hormuz.