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United States Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, situated near Cape Disappointment, Washington at the mouth of the Columbia River, is the largest United States Coast Guard search and rescue station on the Northwest Coast, with 50 crewmembers assigned. Cape Disappointment Station is also the site of the oldest search and rescue station within the Thirteenth Coast Guard District. The station’s Area of Responsibility reaches from Ocean Park on the Washington Coast south to Tillamook Head on the Oregon Coast.

A 47-foot motor lifeboat in heavy surf

The station has nine search and rescue boats, including the 52-foot (16 m) motor lifeboat Triumph (52'-SPC-HWX), two 47-foot (14 m) motor lifeboats (47'-MLB), and two 29-foot (8.8 m) Defender class response boats (25'-RBS). The 52'-SPC-HWX and the 47'-MLB have all been designed for operations in heavy surf conditions and are capable of being rolled over by breaking swells and re-right themselves with minimal damage.

Also colocated with the station is the oldest lighthouse on the Northwest Coast of the United States, Cape Disappointment Light, marking the north side of the Columbia River Bar. Less than two miles (3 km) to the northwest is North Head Light, which provides a beacon for the northern approaches to the Columbia River Bar.

The station's primary missions include providing search and rescue to commercial and recreational mariners within 50 nautical miles (93 km) of the Columbia River entrance and providing a maritime law enforcement presence near the approaches to the Columbia River including execution of homeland security missions.

Commonly known as Station Cape "D", station crewmembers respond to 100-200 calls for assistance every year. The station's heaviest workload occurs during the months of early June through mid-September, when an abundance of recreational boaters transit the Columbia River entrance in search of salmon and bottom fish.

This area is regarded as one of the most treacherous river bars in the world. Because of the large number of shipwrecks near the river entrance it is often called “The Graveyard of the Pacific.” During winter storms, wind-driven ocean swells often reach a height of 20–30 feet (6–9 m) at the entrance of the bar. With the combination of strong outgoing tides and large incoming swells, large surf conditions can exist in and around the bar entrance.

The Cape Disappointment headland was first charted as “San Roque” by a Spanish explorer named Bruno de Heceta while exploring the Northwest Coast in August 1775. Heceta recognized this was probably the mouth of a large river but was unable to explore the entrance, since his crewmembers were weak, suffering from scurvy.

Using Heceta's navigational charts during an expedition along the West Coast of North America in 1788, Lieutenant John Meares of the British Royal Navy attempted to locate “San Roque.” After exploring the area, Lt. Meares decided that no river entrance or channel existed among the shoals at the base of “San Roque” so Lt. Meares changed the name of the rocky headland to Cape Disappointment, a name that has described the headland since July 1788.

Captain Robert Gray first accomplished crossing the bar several years later on May 11, 1792 aboard the Columbia Rediviva. Gray and his crewmembers successfully crossed the treacherous bar and anchored in Baker Bay to trade goods with the Chinook Indians who populated the region. The river was named in honor of this first passage.

The first U. S. Life-Saving Service station at Cape Disappointment was built on the site of Fort Canby in 1877. For the first five years volunteers manned the station entirely. In 1882, the first full-time Life Saving Service crew was sworn in at this site. Then in 1915, the Life Saving Service merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to form the United States Coast Guard. The existing station was first occupied in February 1967 and is currently the site for Station Cape Disappointment and the National Motor Lifeboat School.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°16′49.8″N 124°2′45.6″W / 46.280500°N 124.046000°W / 46.280500; -124.046000.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coast_Guard_Station_Cape_Disappointment — Please support Wikipedia.
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75 news items


Wed, 13 Jan 2016 08:41:16 -0800

(U.S. Coast Guard/PO3 Jonathan Klingenberg); Members of Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment prepare for the 21-gun salute during a memorial ceremony that honored Coast Guardsmen and fishermen who have perished along the Columbia and ...

Chinook Observer

Chinook Observer
Tue, 09 Feb 2016 13:11:15 -0800

LONG BEACH — U.S. Coast Guardsmen traveled en masse to theaters late last month to see “The Finest Hours,” the Disney thriller about one of the service's most famous rescues at sea. What some senior surfmen from Station Cape Disappointment saw was ...


Tue, 19 Jan 2016 15:50:31 -0800

The Coast Guard's Station Cape Disappointment pulled in two disabled vessels over the weekend. Dielman, Klepp and other officers fanned out to various marinas on the north and south sides of the Columbia River over the weekend, along with Coast Guard ...

Daily Astorian

Daily Astorian
Mon, 01 Feb 2016 10:22:30 -0800

LONG BEACH, Wash. — U.S. Coast Guardsmen traveled en masse to theaters over the weekend to see “The Finest Hours,” the Disney thriller about one of the service's most famous rescues at sea. What some senior surfmen from Station Cape ...

Daily Astorian

Daily Astorian
Tue, 11 Aug 2015 09:21:18 -0700

CAPE DISAPPOINTMENT, Wash. — It was the part of the ceremony when, traditionally, the wife of the departing commanding officer receives flowers. But U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Scott McGrew offered a blue and white sign instead: a tsunami warning sign that ...


Fri, 04 Dec 2015 19:11:15 -0800

Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment is the largest Coast Guard search and rescue station on the Northwest coast. From November 2014 to November 2015, the life boat sailors saved 26 lives, and helped assist more than 300 of others. “We train for that.

Chinook Observer

Chinook Observer
Tue, 21 Jul 2015 18:52:30 -0700

ILWACO — A “First Day of Issue” for a USPS stamp commemorating the 225th Anniversary of the Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment will be released on Aug. 4. The special Coast Guard postage stamp will be released and for one day only, The USPS ...

Daily Astorian

Daily Astorian
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 08:11:15 -0700

Abold “established himself as a model shipmate, peer and mentor for the crew of Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment,” wrote Capt. D.J. Travers, commander of Sector Columbia River. According to Lt. Scott McGrew, who oversees operations at the ...

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