On July 20th the Coast Guard celebrates the anniversary of its institution, set by the signing of Royal Decree n. 2438 dated July 20th 1865: it unified the two previous organizations in charge for port management and maritime administration giving birth to a new unified Harbour Masters Corps composed by civil officials, then militarised during the I World War for military needs. Even during non-military times officials wore Navy uniforms, although without any distinctive sign of belonging to the Armed Forces. 

After the unification of Italy, the 1865 act was implemented as part of the State reorganization, whose structure was the same of the Savoy Kingdom in the whole peninsula. The Corps had always been functionally placed in the Merchant Marine Directorate till the birth of the Ministry of Merchant Marine in the year 1947, so dependent for decades from different Ministries according to the succeeding governments (mainly Ministry of Merchant Marine and Communication). The Corps' managerial autonomy had a very long process based upon the principle of instituting an Inspectorate within the same Directorate in the year 1910.

The July 20th anniversary was solemnly celebrated for the first time in the year 1965 in Capitol with the presence of the Minister of Defense Andreotti and the Minister of Merchant Marine Spagnolli (II Moro Government). On the same day the President of the Republic Saragat received at Quirinale Palace the Navy Chief of Staff, the General Inspector of the Corps as well as the Ministers; during the event a good wishes message from Pope Paul VI was also read.

In the year 1985 the Corps' birth (120th anniversary) was celebrated in the Marble Hall of the Navy's Palace; during the ceremony the Corps' General Inspector, Admiral Romani, presented the White Book of the Harbour Masters Corps to Admiral Marulli, Navy Chief of Staff; the book made the point about organization and new needs along with presenting the achievements resulting from the application of the Sea Defense Law (1982) that provided the Corps with new resources and tasks.

It the year 2005 there was the institutionalization of a public event for celebrating the institution of the Corps: it was decided to celebrate an event with the presence of political and local authorities as well as selected public. It takes place on a yearly basis rotating in a Maritime Directorate. This event is also an opportunity for mentioning achievements in institutional activities delivered during the year as well as officially giving awards to personnel. The first celebration took place in 2005 in Trieste, then in 2006 in Naples, in 2007 in Palermo, in 2008 in Ancona, in 2009 in Civitavecchia, in 2010 in Bari, in 2011 again in Civitavecchia and in 2012 in Fiumicino. During the 2009 celebration there was also the opening of a cultural center hosted in the XVI century rooms of Fort Michelangelo in Civitavecchia; it was integrated with a small museum path explaining the institutional activities and organised in topic areas. In the 2010 celebration held in Bari there was a symphonic concert in the Petruzzelli lyric theatre; in the foyer an exhibition was set up with the historic uniforms used by employees since the year 1865.

Because of the well-known recent economic challenges, the Prime Minister's Office decided to interrupt the solemn celebrations of the Corps as well as those of State Police, Carabinieri and Financial Police. In the last years celebrations have taken place locally through simple reminding moments within each single Command. In 2015, for the 150th anniversary, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport asked the permission to celebrate it solemnly once again.​