News / Blog

A calming force guides the river’s ships

March 16, 2022

Read about Samantha Steerman, the first woman dispatcher for Columbia River Bar Pilots

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Largest Container Vessel Calls into the Columbia River

March 8, 2022

Listen to JoAnne Rideout’s Ship Report podcast:

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Buoy 10 Fishery

Buoy 10 Fishery – The Ship Report Interview

August 4, 2019

Listen to the interview: Interview with Captain Dan Jordan • 17 min • Download File

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KGW - Those Who Serve: The Columbia River Bar Pilots

KGW – Those Who Serve: The Columbia River Bar Pilots

August 2, 2019

They guide massive ships in and out of the Columbia River Bar, one of the world’s most dangerous waterways, 24 hours a day.

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Bar Pilots Face World’s Most Dangerous Crossing – Port of Portland Portside

January 24, 2019

We asked Mark Hails what it’s like to be a Columbia River Bar Pilot. From arriving to work by air and by sea to crossing the world’s most dangerous entrance to a commercial waterway, hear what he had to say and see him in action in the video below.

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opb crbp

OPB – Oregon Field Guide: Columbia River Bar Pilots

October 13, 2016

Field Guide follows bar pilots as they encounter crashing surf, unpredictable currents and fierce winds of the infamous Columbia River Bar—a gauntlet that has killed nearly 2,000 men and sunk 700 vessels since record-keeping began.

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Smithsonian Magazine – Steering Ships Through a Treacherous Waterway

February 1, 2009

At first light on a winter morning off the Oregon coast, the sky begins to luminesce the same creepy shade of doom you might expect at the Apocalypse. A gathering storm is chasing crab boats back to port, but the Chinook is running out to sea. Long as a locomotive and painted rubber-ducky yellow, it…

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‘Graveyard’ Guides

May 25, 2003

By Associated Press Sunday, May 25, 2003 9:47 AM PDT ASTORIA — As the pilot boat Chinook pulls alongside the Japanese freighter Spring Leo, matching its cruising speed, both vessels rise and fall on the seas and swells of the Columbia River bar. A ladder drops over the freighter’s side. Bar pilot Ellwood Collamore backs…

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Training for the Maelstrom

November 15, 2002

Daily Astorian Benjamin Romano Siberian winds blow across the 4,500-mile fetch of the North Pacific, producing huge waves that collide with the mouth of the second largest river in North America just as they reach shallow water. Shifting weather fronts add wind waves of different sizes and directions to the fray. “It creates a maelstrom…

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Rescue Team Awarded Medals for Preventing Ship Disaster

April 1, 2002

Daily Astorian Last November, as winds roared at speeds up to 50 mph and ocean swells climbed to 35 feet, a decommissioned oil tanker enroute from Portland to China snapped its tugboat tow line. Still loaded with about 20,000 gallons of fuel oil, the 906-foot tanker drifted backward toward Willapa Bay, Wash. and the bay’s…

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