Coast Guard Station
Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, situated at the mouth of the Columbia River, is the largest Coast Guard search and rescue station on the Northwest Coast, with 50 crewmembers assigned. Cape Disappointment is also the site of the oldest search and rescue station within the Thirteenth Coast Guard District.
The station's primary missions include (1) providing search and rescue to commercial and recreational mariners within 50 nautical miles of the Columbia River entrance and (2) 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 300-400 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 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.