Resist the urge to repeat age-old Navy jokes (blue water sea service) about their Coastie brethren.
Research the cutter’s class and mission. Review its website. Look at the history behind the ship’s name, if applicable.
Ask junior enlisted personnel what their specialty is, what is the most interesting thing to work on, what mission they have most enjoyed, what is next for them professionally.
Ask the more senior enlisted about the arc of their careers, most interesting duty, best advice for someone who wants to serve as an officer. The senior enlisted of all services play a huge role in advising and training raw JOs.
Ask junior officers about how they chose their career paths, the specifics of their current billet, toughest part of their job, any USCGA or commissioning source insights that you want to know about.
Don’t ask, “what does this ship do?” Read about the mission, choose some element you want to know about, and ask “I read that cutters in this class perform X duties, what does that entail?”