Pilot Boat — Astoria
Columbia River Bar Pilots
Camarc Ltd. Design, UK
(2) MTU 16V2000 1410 BHP
(2) Hamilton 651 water jets
About 29 knots
75 feet 6 inches
21 feet 6 inches
3 feet 6 inches
2 crew and 4 pilots
Self-righting through 180 degrees
"We go out to get on ships and navigate them into the river, and the boat gets us there," said Capt. Chris Farrell, a bar pilot and master mariner. The crew gets the boat lined up with a ladder on the ship, and the pilots jump across. "If we can't get on a ship, then shipping would stop on the river, so what we do is an important piece of the gateway to the Columbia River."
The Columbia River Bar Pilots have two pilot boats, including the Astoria, as well as a helicopter. Brian Junes, the marine transportation manager, said the boats need be kept in top notch condition and the crew members on duty need to be ready to go at a moment's notice.
"I feel we have some of the best jet boat operators in the world working for our company," Junes said.
Farrell added that the mouth of the Columbia has some of the most challenging boating conditions in the world, and the pilots and crew members have specific local knowledge for getting over the bar safely.
"We love these boats and we're proud of them," Farrell said.