Heavy Wake Capsizes U.S. Coast Guard Boat at Port of Astoria

A Sector Columbia River small ATON boat (file image courtesy USCG)

Published Jan 5, 2020 1:51 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday, a U.S. Coast Guard small boat capsized with four crewmembers aboard near Pier 39 in Astoria, Oregon. 

Four coastguardsmen were aboard the vessel when the capsizing occurred. The vessel reportedly encountered a series of heavy wakes that came over the bow, which resulted in a starboard list that ultimately capsized the vessel.

At 1140 hours Saturday, watchstanders at the 13th Coast Guard District command center in Seattle received four Personal Locator Beacon alerts registered to Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Astoria.

The beacons' positions correlated with multiple good Samaritans' reports of visual distress signals near Pier 39 in Astoria. Similar reports were received by Astoria's 911 dispatch.

At about 1150 hours, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River issued an urgent marine information broadcast (UMIB) and directed a Coast Guard Air Station Astoria MH-60 Jayhawk crew and a Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment motor lifeboat crew to respond.

At 1210 hours, crewmembers aboard the Columbia Bar Pilot vessel Connor Foss contacted the Coast Guard and reported that they had recovered the four Coast Guardsmen from the water after responding to the broadcast. They were en route to awaiting medical personnel at the 17th Street pier.

The Clatsop County Sheriff's Marine Unit assisted in the recovery by towing the capsized vessel to the 17th Street pier.

All four coastguardsmen involved were evaluated at Columbia Memorial Hospital and are in healthy condition.

The Coast Guard is overseeing salvage operations and has initiated a mishap board review process.