Coast Guard announces pilot program use of NIXLE for bar reports on Oregon Coast

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard will begin use of NIXLE to provide publicly accessible reports on the Umpqua River Bar conditions Friday.

Coast Guard Station Umpqua River has begun broadcasting bar reports, bar conditions and restrictions using the technology provided by the website Nixle as part of a pilot program that will run from Nov. 27, 2014, to Jan. 27, 2015. Additional stations may be added in the future and will be announced via press release.

Nixle is a private company that provides local, state, and government agencies as well as private business the ability to publish information to the public via text message and email.

Messages are targeted to specific geographic regions via the mode selected by the user during registration.

The service is free, though message and data rates may apply to the specific end user.

Users are able to gain access to this free service on the Nixle website by registering for an account and selecting the agency they would like to receive notifications for, or they can simply text the word UMPQUA to 888777. Once complete, the user will receive a text on their cellular device or an email to their account with the broadcast released directly from Coast Guard Station Umpqua River.

Bar reports usually begin at first light each morning, and are released every couple of hours, or as bar conditions change. During periods of extreme tides, weather, or rain runoff, there may be numerous updates throughout the day, continuing on until last light at sunset for the final bar conditions update.

Many boaters call the Coast Guard station several times a day to get the latest bar report and to see if any existing restriction has been lowered or removed allowing them to transit out across the Umpqua River Bar. The need to make numerous phone calls is alleviated by the implementation of this service. Users will receive a message each time the Coast Guard releases a bar report.

The service will not cancel any current publication of the Umpqua River Bar Report, but will be in addition to the other numerous tools the station is using to notify the boating public of the bar conditions. Currently, the station broadcasts the bar report and restrictions on AM Radio 1610, the large red LED lighted sign in front of the station in Winchester Bay, on the internet via NOAA and also provides a webpage through the NOAA Medford Oregon office that has a camera on the bar for a live picture and listed bar report time, status, and restrictions.

NIXLE is another tool the Coast Guard is using to improve the boating public’s access to information about their surroundings, and educate them on the ever changing conditions of the river bar.

Due to technology, this service is relying on the user’s access to or coverage from a cellular, WiFi or Internet provider. Still, the best way to obtain the latest and most current updated bar report is to contact Coast Guard Station Umpqua River and remember to boat safe.

Users with comments about the use of the service are encouraged to send them to Chief Petty Officer Jay Nilles, executive petty officer, Coast Guard Station Umpqua River at 541-271-8401 or by Jan. 30, 2015.

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