Columbia River Bar Pilots
Columbia River Bar Pilots were established in 1846 to ensure the safety of ships, crews and cargoes crossing the treacherous Columbia River Bar, which is recognized as one of the most dangerous and challenging navigated stretches of water in the world. All vessels engaged in foreign trade are required to employ a Columbia River Bar Pilot licensed by the State of Oregon when crossing the Columbia River Bar. The licensing standard for the Columbia River Bar Pilots is one of the highest in the nation. Each Columbia River Bar Pilot must hold an unlimited master?s license and have served a minimum of two years as master of oceangoing vessels. Once aboard, the pilot assumes navigational conduct of the vessel using his or her experience and local knowledge to safely navigate the restricted channels of the Columbia River, and over the bar to and from sea. These experienced Columbia River Bar Pilots guide approximately 3,600 vessel crossings of the bar each year ? from 100-foot tugs to 1,100-foot tankers, bulk carriers, car carriers, log ships, general cargo ships, container ships and passenger ships.