Name: T/V Columbia
Owner: Department of Labor
Homeport: Tongue Point Job Corps Center, Astoria, Oregon
Length: 82 feet
Beam: 24 feet
Draft: 8 feet
Engine: Twin 1000 HP KTA-38 Cummins Diesel
Cruising speed: 10 knots
Fuel capacity: 6,000 gallons
Weight: 125 tons
Horsepower: 1860 (930 per shaft)
Generators: 32.0 MDKBU (two of them)
Other details: Steel hull, two rudders, four cylinder in-line/four cycle
Use: The Columbia River Bar Pilots used the T/V Columbia for its first 30 years of service. In 2007, the bar pilots donated the boat to the seamanship program at Tongue Point Job Corps.
Gunnar Allen, chief of the T/V Columbia, said he’s very grateful to have it as a training vessel.
“It was a great boat for its day and it worked very well for the bar pilots,” said Allen, who used to work for the bar pilots himself.
Captain Len Tumbarello said the seamanship program is “A” rated by the Department of Labor and he’s proud of the program’s 90%-plus completion and job placement rates.
“For 14 years now, the T/V Columbia has been a real force multiplier in providing on-the-job training for our students of this highly efficient program to produce proficient, professional and passionate merchant mariners for the vitally critical maritime industry,” Tumbarello said.
The Columbia is one of two training vessels in the program. The other is the Ironwood, built in 1943 and used for collecting buoys.
Ada Gutierrez and Hahns Robinson, two of the students in the seamanship program, are learning about many different aspects of operating the boats.
“I enjoy and love the feeling of leadership in the maritime industry, especially as a female and minority in this industry,” Gutierrez said. “We are supported and encouraged.”
“I enjoy the freedom it gives you to be able to go anywhere in the world that you can get to by water,” Robinson said.
Robinson said he enjoys honing his skills, especially splicing, which is interweaving strands of ropes together.
After they complete the program, Gutierrez said she plans to further her studies at the California State University Maritime Academy then work on cruise ships before returning to Astoria to work with the bar pilots. Robinson said he plans to work for a research vessel helping scientists.
The Tongue Point Job Corps is the only job corps in the country that offers a seamanship program.