Obverse: The Coast Guard Commendation Medal is a bronze hexagon (one point up), 1-1/4 inches wide and 1-3/8 inches wide, point-to-point. In its center is the Coast Guard seal.
Reverse: The reverse contains a circle consisting of the word “AWARDED” at the top and “OUTSTANDING SERVICE” in the lower third, separated by laurel leaves. Inside the circle are the words “TO” and “FOR,” separated by a space for engraving the recipient’s name. The inscription is configured to read, “AWARDED TO [recipient’s name] FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICE.” The inscription describes the purpose of the award, and the laurel leaves represent achievement.