NEW LONDON - During the graduation ceremony for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy today, President Barack Obama told graduating cadets that their work protecting the country has never been more important.

Obama told the 229 cadets of the Class of 2011 that their role extends from protecting foreign ports and defending against pirates off the coast of Africa and at home, to combating smugglers and potential terrorists.

For Obama, it was his final commencement address of the season. The president traditionally delivers a commencement address every year to one of the service academies.

The Coast Guard Academy is the smallest of the five academies.

Obama addressed the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2010 at West Point last year.

The 130th Coast Guard Academy commencement was forced indoors due to inclement weather.

VIDEO: President Obama addresses U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduates