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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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78 news items

Chinook Observer

Chinook Observer
Tue, 19 Apr 2016 16:48:45 -0700

Located south of U.S. Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, it is seldom visited by local residents but plays an important role in protecting the Columbia River's navigation corridor. ILWACO — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has yet to officially ...

Coast Weekend

Coast Weekend
Thu, 28 Apr 2016 08:00:00 -0700

Tom Condit, of U.S. Coast Guard station Cape Disappointment, is the reviewing officer. The keynote speaker and grand marshal for 2016 is Benjamin Franklin. John Hamant — aka B. Franklin — has come from Colonial Williamsburg for the event. “Each year ...

Daily Astorian

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

Lt. Tom Condit smiles to the crowd after a speech during the Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment Change of Command ceremony Monday in Ilwaco, Wash. Condit is taking over as commanding officer from Lt. Scott McGrew, who is leaving for Seattle to ...


Wed, 13 Jan 2016 08:41:15 -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, 21 Jul 2015 18:59:46 -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 ...


Tue, 10 Nov 2015 20:41:15 -0800

Senior Chief Petty Officer James Greenlief speaks with a kayaker on the docks at Coast Guard Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco, Wash., Nov. 10, 2015. One of the station's 47-foot Motor Live Boat crews had come across her and two other kayakers in distress, ...

Daily Astorian

Daily Astorian
Mon, 01 Feb 2016 10:24:12 -0800

Lt. Tom Condit stands near the CG-36495 on display at U.S. Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment. The boat was involved in a rescue of four people which capsized on the bar at Rogue River in 1967. Buy this photo. A framed presentation of the Gold ...

Longview Daily News

Longview Daily News
Fri, 04 Apr 2014 18:30:26 -0700

But the small boats of the U.S. Coast Guard's Station Cape Disappointment are quick to speed out of Baker Bay to pluck the unfortunate from the mouth of the Columbia River. And now they can do so a little bit faster. Station Cape Disappointment in ...

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