Coast Guard enforces restricted bar in Coos Bay, OR

A 47-foot Motor Lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Coos Bay (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier)

A 47-foot Motor Lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Coos Bay (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier)

ASTORIA, Ore. – The Coast Guard issued a Notice of Violation Tuesday to the operator of a recreational vessel that was detected crossing a restricted bar in Coos Bay.

Coast Guard members at Coast Guard Station Coos Bay detected the vessel crossing the Coos Bay Bar Tuesday at 12:07 p.m. At the time of the detection, the Bar was restricted to all recreational vessels smaller than 36 feet in length.

Station watchstanders attempted to hail the 23-foot vessel on channel 16 VHF-FM marine-band radio, but the vessel didn’t respond. The station launched a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew to respond to the bar crossing and conduct a safety inspection. The same boater was contacted Monday by station personnel who educated him on the dangers of Oregon coast bars and how to obtain Bar Restriction information after he was detected near the same restricted bar.

The Coast Guard previously established regulated navigation areas for specific locations on the Oregon and Washington coasts and created guidance for these locations. When conditions become hazardous, the Captain of the Port for the Coast Guard, having jurisdiction over a particular area, will either restrict or close the bar to ensure maritime safety.

“The Oregon Coast is home to some of the most dangerous waterways in the world,” said Lt. Cmdr. Colin Fogarty, the Enforcement Chief at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. “The Coast Guard’s use of bar restrictions saves lives and prevents boaters from putting themselves and their passengers in danger.”

Administrative fines were issued to the operator of the vessel for $3,000.

“Restrictions are based on the objective judgments by extremely experienced and knowledgeable Surfmen,” Fogarty said. “This mariner not only risked his own life, but potentially the lives of other mariners and the Coast Guard members who may have responded to save him if something had gone wrong. The Coast Guard has no tolerance for knowingly crossing restricted bars. $3,000 is a lot of money to pay for a crab, but it’s cheaper than the life of a mariner or their passengers.”

The Coast Guard urges mariners to check bar restriction updates to keep themselves and their passengers safe. Updates can be found by visiting, listening to radio channel 1610 AM, or contacting the local Coast Guard station by phone or VHF-FM radio channel 16.

In addition, boaters are reminded to check current and forecasted weather and sea conditions before embarking on a voyage, have the proper and required safety and emergency equipment, and always wear a life jacket.

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