CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – The U.S. Coast Guard said they’re hurting for more service members.

Friday afternoon, the military branch held its second annual Tidewater Coast Guard Festival at Chesapeake City Park.

Petty Officer Ellen Davis said the event had two missions; one was to improve public relations.

“We’re a very family-friendly organization,” Davis said. “We’re very different from the other branches, and we want you to see that,” Davis said.

The other mission was to improve employment.

“Just like all the other military branches, we need new members,” Davis said. “We’re hurting for people. Our office in the Hampton Roads area is very proud to admit our recruiting mission this year, but we need more people to join.”

She said hundreds of people showed up to the festival where they were able to play games, get hands on demonstrations, and hop on two Coast Guard boats.

She explained how Hampton Roads is one of the largest U.S. Coast Guard areas, with Chesapeake having hundreds of members.

Despite that, many people still regard the branch as an afterthought.

“We’re here doing search and rescue off the water,” Davis said. “We respond when there’s incidents on the inland waterway, we do law enforcement missions, so we want you to think of us.”

She wanted one thing to come out of the event.

“I want the public here in Hampton Roads to enjoy their Coast Guard,” she said.