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Oregon Field Guide

Columbia River Bar Pilots

Producer: Ed Jahn   Camera/Editor: Michael Bendixen   Additional Editing: Tom Shrider  
Additional Photos and Video: Jeff Daly/ Launch Station, Columbia River Maritime Museum, Shawn Adams/ Rotor-Head, Patly Productions, Clatsop Historical Society and National Maritime Museum, San Francisco
Special Thanks: Jeff Smith, Curator, Columbia River Maritime Museum, Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa and Jeffrey Nelson

Field Guide follows bar pilots as they encounter crashing surf, unpredictable currents and fierce winds of the infamous Columbia River Bar—a gauntlet that has killed nearly 2,000 men and sunk 700 vessels since record-keeping began.

Viewers will get an up-close look at the work of bar pilots, whose job it is to board vessels and guide them safely across the bar. It’s something bar pilots do year-round to keep $24 billion worth of goods flowing to ports up and down the river.

 The episode examines the hazards and history of piloting this narrow gap between Oregon and Washington’s Clatsop and Peacock spits, and concludes with a look at new practices being used to make the job safer.

You can read more about the Columbia River Bar pilots and see web exclusive footage right here!


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Columbia River Bar Pilots (2803)

Oregon Field Guide: Episode #2803
Most Recent Broadcast: October 20, 2016