Coast Guard Cutter Aspen maintains navigation aids in the Pacific Northwest

Coast Guard members established missing aids to navigation and realigned the entrance to Tillamook Bay this week during an ongoing mission along the Pacific Northwest coast.
Coast Guard Cutter Aspen, a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender homeported in San Francisco, transited the Oregon Coast last week correcting several buoy discrepancies. One such error was correcting the radio transmitter beacon for the buoy marking the entrance to the Columbia River.


The USCGC Aspen (WLB 208) and crew transit the Columbia River near Astoria, Oregon, Aug. 20, 2019. Homeported in San Francisco, the Cutter Aspen has been assigned to the Pacific Northwest while the USGCG Elm (WLB 204) undergoes routine scheduled maintenance. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Steve Strohmaier.

The Aspen is currently the only heavy-lift capable buoy tender along the western coast of the United States. Coast Guard Cutter Elm normally handles buoy work in the Pacific Northwest; however, due to routine scheduled maintenance, they were unable to attend to any of the aids.
“We’re glad to ensure mariners in the Pacific Northwest have properly operating navigation aids to safely transit these notoriously rough waters,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey West, commanding officer of the Aspen. “The Oregon and Washington coasts are beautiful, but they present unique dangers, and the crew is proud to keep boaters safe. It has been a rewarding trip.”
Managing fixed and floating aids to navigation are one of the 11 statutory missions of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Aspens’ main area of responsibility is the San Francisco Bay Area and the California coast. The crew also performs various law enforcement and environmental missions, including oil spill response.

Here’s a great video from Hugh Jhanis showing the Coast Guard buoy tender at the entrance to Tillamook Bay.