Search for buoys*
Vol 631 Tramway Winch LH Reports 1884 and 1885
Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of operations for the fiscal year ended June 30th 1885 In this district there are – Light-houses, and Lighted beacons ------------------------------ 39 Day of Unlighted beacons ------------------------------------------14 Fog signals operated by steam ------------------------------------4 Fog signals struck by machinery -----------------------------------2 Whistling –buoys in position ----------------------------------------2 Other buoys in position ----------------------------------------------127 Buoys, Duplicate, and spare ----------------------------------------106 Steamer, “Shubrick” Buoy tender and for supplies and Inspection – 1 Light-Houses The numbers preceding the names of the stations correspond with the List of Light Houses
Vol 348 Engineer Reports 13th Dist. 1873 and 1874 CF Exhibted YB Discontinued
therefore be necessary to land the supplies at Yaquina Bay to guard against any unnecessary risks, I have examined the channel and directed the Light-Keeper at that station to place range poles on certain points on shore to mark the channel in crossing the bar, hereafter I think the Tender will be able to enter that place without any difficulty where she can land supplies and replace the necessary buoys. Very Respectfully, Your obedient Servant JH Spotts Com. USW Inspector
YH LH location and building Vol. 311
Office of the Light House Engineer Thirteenth District Portland, Oregon July 20 (1872) Chairman Light House Board, Washington, D.C.
Sir: I have the honor to submit the following Report of Operations for the year ending June 30th. Thirteenth District The Thirteenth District embraces all aids to navigation on the Pacific Coast of the U.S. north of the southern boundary of Oregon and embraces the coast of Oregon and the Washington** Territory. (of Washington) Engineer Major H. M. Robert Corps of Engineers, U.S.A. There are in this district Light-houses 11
(insert from left side of page ) Buoys actually in position show? buoys for relief? and to supply tower. ??? ??? ??? ??? to 12th 13th Districts.
The number preceding the name and the station corresponds with those of [the Lt. Ho. List - crossed out] (Same as last year)** for 1871 (2).
[407 - crossed out] (422)** Yaquina Bay, Oregon. The Lt. Ho. at this point was commenced May 1, 1871 and completed the following October; ??? [owing to the fact that chimneys were not included in the supplies first shipped. The light was not exhibited till - crossed out] (and lighted)** November 23 1871. ["ber 23 1871" crossed out and rewritten]
408 Cape Foulweather, Sea Coast of Oregon Work on this station has been seriously hindered by the difficulties
**Items in parentheses were written above or on top of original writing.
Box 253 YB 1887 1888
January 18th 8
"Capt. W. Kelly Jr. of the ??? ??? "Willamette Valley, reports the following on buoys at Yaquina City - the whistling buoy drifted N.E. 1/4 N. No. 1 black buoy, gone
(All communications should be addressed to "THE CHAIRMAN OF THE LIGHT-HOUSE BOARD.")
Treasury Department Office of the Light-House Board Washington, July 19th, 1889.
As requested in your letter of 12 June '89, the Board approves your action in establishing buoys in the 13th Light-house District, as follows:
A 3rd class nun buoy, red, No. 2, on starboard side of channel, inside the bar, Yaquina Bay, Oreg.
An horizontal striped spar buoy on a shoal (not shown on the chart and called by you Argyle Shoal) in the norther part of Griffin Bay, Wash.
Commander, U.S.N. Naval Secretary
Box 251 YB YH reprimand stove 1874 to 1875
1874 Sept. 8 Yaquina Bay Replacing Buoys. 1875 Feb. 4 Yaquina Bay Appointment of officer in charge as Inspector of Customs Mch. 23 Yerba Buena Fog signal appropriation - location of site June 8 Yaquina Bay Sale of property at. Oct. 18 Yaquina Bay Pay of custodian 1876 May 13 Yaquina Bay Payment of custodian " 22 Yaquina Bay Buoys. Authority to pay for transportation of. " 29 Yaquina Bay. Recovery of Buoy. Sept. 19 Yaquina Bay. Recovery of Buoys - bill for. July 6 Yaquina Bay. Buoy Service authorized. 1879 Dec. 5 Yaquina Bay. Buoys to be replaced.
Referring to your letter of February 4 and mine in answer thereto of February 13th relative to replacing buoys at Yaquina Bay, Oregon, you are informed that Senator Mitchell of Oregon had written this office on the subject, insisting that it is news??? any??? the buoys should be replaced. You are therefore requested to replace as many of them as are necessary to satisfy the demands of commerce, in such time and in such manner as you may deem best. You will use your discretion in determining whether or not to use
Buoys at Yaquina Bay/Authority to pay cost of transportation
Mayt 22nd 6
Your letter of May 8th, requesting authority to pay the cost of transporting 2 first class buoys for Yaquina Bay to San Francisco, and suggesting that this service can be performed at the usual freight rates, has been received.
In reply I have to inform you that the authority asked is hereby granted, and you are requested to refer to this letter by date on your vouchers as authority for making the necessary expenditure.
Very respectfully ??? Naval Secretary
Yaquina Bay/ Bill for Recovery & transportation of buoys
Sept. 19th 6
Referring to your letter of Aug. 18th, with enclosures, relating to recovering and taking to San Francisco two (2) buoys that went adrift off Yaquina Bay Bar, I have to say that although the bill is large, the Board is bound by the action of Comdr Snell in agreeing to pay for the transportation at freight rates by measurement, and you are therefore authorized to pay it provided it has not already been paid by the Inspector of the 12th L.H. District.
Very respectfully, ??? Naval Secretary.
Buoy services at Yaquina Bay authorized.
July 6th 7
Your letter of June 21st reporting that Mr. R.H. Bensell of Newport, Oregon, offers to care for the buoys in Yaquina Bay for the fiscal year ending June 30th, 1878, for the sum of Ninety-six dollars, has been received.
In reply I have to inform you that you are authorized to have this buoy service performed on terms most advantageous for the Government.
You are also authorized to pay for it from the appropriation for Buoyage and you may refer to this letter by date on your vouchers as
Renewal of agreement for
Dec. 5th 79
Referring to your letter of Nov. 24th, asking directions relative to the renewal of the agreement for the care of the buoys in Coos Bay and Yaquina Bay, I have to say that the Board desires you to make the best terms you can for the care of these buoys for the present.
It is believed that the tender Shubrick will be permanently assigned to the 13th L.H. District early in Feb'y, and that she will be able to attend to the buoyage of the entire district.
Very respectfully, Geo. Dewey Commander, U.S.N. Naval Secretary
Yaquina Bay Built 1869 to 1871
the question of the necessity for a light at or near Yaquina Bay, Oregon, in connection with a general programme for lighting the Pacific Coast, and as a necessary prelimniary (preliminary???) have secured by reservation a sufficient quantity of land for this purpose. It is not deemed advisable, in advance of the next annual estimates, to call for further appropriation for the Pacific Coast. The subject of the improvement of the harbor of Queenstown, Maryland, referred to in the petition, does not come within the province of the Board. The papers are herewith returned.
Feb 19th, 1869
From Chairman L.H. Board Adml. W.B. Shubrick
Sir: I have had the honor to receive the letter from H. E. Stilley Esq., addressed to Hon John Poole and referred to this Board for report. The buoys in the District embracing North Carolina are attended ( raised cleaned, painted &c) by the regular Buoy Tender, which vessel, is now provided with a competent master. The letter is returned.
Feb 19th, 1869
From Chairman L.H. Board Adml. W.B. Shubrick
Coast Guard District narrative histories 1945
When the Lighthouse Service consolidated with the Coast Guard in 1939, there were 1,362 aids to navigation in the district including 31 major light stations, four lightships, 133 fog signals, 12 radio beacons, 672 minor light stations, including lighted buoys, and 676 unlighted buoys and daymarks. The oldest of the major light stations were Cape Disappointment and New Dungeness, which were completed in 1856 as the first activity of the Lighthouse Service in the Pacific Northwest.
Three-hundred and forty-seven Lighthouse personnel were employed in the Seattle District at the time of the consolidation. It was appreciated and understood that there was a natural reluctance on the part of the personnel to transfer from the Bureau to another service. To overcome the hesitation the transfer was effected by avoiding discharges whenever possible and making reductions in personnel by not filling vacancies which were in effect at the time of the transfer.
Superintendents of the former Lighthouse Districts became assistants to the District Commanders of the Coast Guard Districts for the administration and operation of the lighthouse functions. On November 13, 1939, the Superintendent and one clerk transferred from the Portland Lighthouse Service Office, 17th Lighthouse District, to the Seattle District Coast Guard Office (then in the Federal Building at the foot of Marion Street). The remainder of the Portland Office staff reported for duty on the morning of December 18, 1939. On that same day, the former superintendent of the 17th Lighthouse District was commissioned a commander in the United States Coast Guard to serve as Chief of Staff under the District Coast Guard Officer.
Of the personnel transferred, there were 70 keepers in residence on the stations in 1939. During the war, this number increased to 176 on these stations because of the fact that unskilled men inducted into the service had not had the training, background nor interest in the stations which had been common to the men earlier assigned there. Furthermore, the work at the station increased during the war years; Coastal Lookout units with their dogs and horses were generally located on Station grounds. This necessitated turning the dwellings of the Keepers into barracks to quarter the increased personnel and building kennels, stables and shelters for equipment. The end of the war began the gradual reduction of the stations to their normal peactime complements. -22-
During the amalgamation of the Lighthouse Service and the Coast Guard in 1939, four lightships, the COLUMBIA RIVER LIGHTSHIP 393, the UMATILLA REEF LIGHTSHIP #88, the RELIEF LIGHTSHIP #92, and the SWIFTSURE LIGHTSHIP #113, were transferred to the Coast Guard. These four lightships maintained only three stations as the RELIEF LIGHTSHIP #92 was used on all stations as relief.
(Photo of Relief Lightship displayed with caption below)
The LIGHTSHIP RELIEF used to relieve the other lighthships
At the outbreak of the war, LIGHTSHIPS No. 88 and 113 were removed from their stations by the Navy and replaced by lighted whistle buoys. the ships were reconverted by removing the radiobeacon and antenna mast, by installing armament, by realtering the radio facilities and by increasing the complement of 30 Coast Guardmen and five Coast Guard Officers. The No. 88 was then placed in the Straits of Juan de Fuca as a Recognition Ship and the No. 113 was sent to Alaskan Waters. The removal of these two ships left only the COLUMBIA RIVER LIGHTSHIP #93 on station at the entrance to the Columbia River with the No. 92 to be used as its relief.
A monitor station was established at North Head Radio Station which checked the performance of all District Radio Beacons, and outlying stations were notified daily of all failures or defects in the radio beacons' operation. These reports were a District innovation and were not required by Headquarters but were merely another measure adopted by the District Coast Guard Office for increased efficiency in the District system. In March, 1944, Radio Station Meadowdale was ??? as a Monitoring Station for radio beacons, as the activities at that station had been considerably reduced. Although Headquarters' instructions ordered that each radio beacon in the United States be monitored at least once every four hours, it became possible in the 13th Naval District, to monitor each radio beacon every hour after the new monitor station had been added.
In 1932 navigation in the Upper Columbia was revived for the transportation of wheat, but the servies between the Upper and Lower Ports was intermittent. This renewal of navigation was more or less on a trial basis to determine if sufficient commerce could be developed to support water carrier operation. Sufficient traffic was realized and, after the construction of the Bonneville Dam which was completed in 1938, river traffic expanded into the movement of great steel barges designed to carry liquid petroleum in the hull and package or bulk cargo on deck. With this increased traffic from Astoria, Oregon, beyond The Dalles, Oregon, the necessity of navigational aids to insure the mariner's safety became most apparent. As a result, the Aids to Navigation Section centered the majority of its activities in the promotion of safe navigation along the river. Here was the proving grounds for experimental light structures and buoys to determine those most suitable for the area. Due to the rapid current, range marking channels had to be so perfected as to enable the mariners to ascertain their course in a matter of seconds.
It was also necessary to experiment with range markings, and in this connection the Nautical Scientist in the Aide to Navigation Section, 13th Naval District, invented and constructed a system of laterally restricted range markings. This newly devised "Channel Limiting Group" was necessary because of the impossible terrain which made the establishment of the conventional markings impracticable if not impossible. With Headquarters' approval an experimental range was established on the Columbia River near Arlington, Oregon, which proved to be successful. Other experiments were concerned principally with surface riding buoys and fast water buoys.
labor consumed far too much valuable time, and so it became expedient that there be a swifter method. By 1942, Headquarters developed a radio control system for aids to navigation intended primarily for blacking out unattended lighted aids by means of radio signal. The system was designated by the coined word "RACAN" which was later changed to ANRAC to avoid confusion with RADAR beacons or RACONS.
After a thorough study of the use of ANRAC, the District Coast Guard Officer, 13th Naval District, requested Headquarters' authority to install the equipment with the Cape Disappointment Light Station as the control unit for the radio extinguishing of ten buoys in the lower Columbia River. Because of the delay in the delivery of ANRAC equipment, it was not until March, 1944 that the first two ANRAC equipped buoys were placed on station. All maintenance and repair work for this installation of special buoy equipment was handled at the Tongue Point Repair Base, Tongue Point, Oregon. Later at the request of the Commandant, 13th Naval District, the District Coast Guard Officer requested that ANRAC controlled buoys be placed in the Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay areas. Headquarters authorized these installations, but later experiments with ANRAC did not prove satisfactory and permission was requested of Headquarters to discontinue this type of equipment. This request to remove ANRAC equipment from the Columbia River, Grays Harbor, and Willapa Bay was finally approved.
Early in 1943, the Navy had decided to install RACONS on Coast Guard Light Stations at Cape Arago, Cape Blanco, Heceta Head, and Yaquina Head in Oregon. Sixteen Coast Guardsmen were schooled in the operation and maintenance of RACON equipment at a one week training course at the Naval Air Station, Seattle, a short time before the installations were completed. By the end of May, 1943, RACONS were in operation at the above Coast Guard units as well as at the Port Angeles Air Station and the Cape Flattery Light Station.
At the beginning of 1944, the Chief of Naval Operations directed the transfer of all Navy "pulse" equipment to the Coast Guard for operation and maintenance. The first RACON station to be transferred was the installation at Tillamook Naval Air Station which was assumed by the Coast Guard on 1 May, 1945. The stations at Shelton, Quillayute, Whidby Island, and Seattle in the state of Washington, and Astoria, and Oceanside in Oregon were transferred to the Coast Guard. Other RACON units were established subsequently in the 13th Naval District. At the conclusion of the war, various Auxiliary Stations were discontinued and the RACON stations at each were placed in caretaker status.
It was the intention of the Coast Guard to make the most possible use of RADAR and other electronics devices in order to increase the efficiency of its public services. One shore base installation was established and two installations were tentatively scheduled to be used as an experimental setup to determine whether necessary coverage could be provided for air-sea rescue operation.
The District Coast Guard Officer of each District was directed to investigate the possible application of shore based RADAR to the particular problems of his district. Consideration was given to the need of air-sea rescue to provide warning of potential or real distress, to determine the assistance to possible control of shipping in and around harbors and the use of RADAR as a supplementary aid for coastal lookout as well as in checking the position of navigational or any other applications which would increase the efficiency of Coast Guard functions. Results of these investigations by the District Coast Guard Officer were submitted to Headquarters in order that no phase of application be overlooked in the overall study.
The end of the war found the District not only operating fourteen RACON stations but a new electronic aid, LORAN, with stations at Cape Blanco, Oregon; Point Grenville, Washington; and Spring Island, Vancouver, B. C. A Monitor Station for LORAN had been set up at Yaquina Head, Oregon. Installation and supervision of LORAN was controlled entirely by Headquarters. However, on survey trips to determine sites for the various stations, representatives of the District Coast Guard Officer, 13th Naval District, had been present. The original installations at the aforementioned stations were temporary, in that they were mobile units, contracts having been let to private industry for the construction of permanent stations. The Aids to Navigation Office distributed 1500 temporary LORAN navigation charts covering the coast from Cape Blanco to Spring Island to Army, Navy, and Canadian Air Stations, as well as to innumerable warships.
CAMOUFLAGE OF LIGHT STATIONS
Early in the war, the Commandant, 13th Naval District, ordered the concealment of painting of ten of the Light Stations that were near military areas or war industries. The walls were "toned down" with gray and the space under the eaves painted black to accentuate the silouette of the station as it appeared from the water. (Tongue Point Repair Base was provided with a camouflage net to cover the wharves where vari-colored buoys and markers were stored. This base was in the vicinity of the Naval Air Station, Astoris, and the work was done in conjunction with assistance from that activity). Army activities near Coast Guard
units furnished the paint for camouflaging and structures. The last of the stations was returned to its normal peace time color by the end of the summer, 1945.
DISTRICT OFFICE PERSONNEL
Prior to, and for almost a year following the consolidation of the Lighthouse Service and the Coast Guard, the Aids to Navigation Section was administered by an Associate Mechanical Engineer with the assistance of two clerks and a stenographer. Both operational and engineering activities were combined in this section until the District was reorganized according to the Coast Guard organization plan. Engineering duties were then delegated to a separate Engineering Section and the operation and maintenance of aids to navigation became the responsibility of the Section. The Associate Mechanical Engineer, later promoted to Nautical Scientist, administered the department until the assignment of an Aids to Navigation Officer in 1944. Until that time, however the staff had increased to two Coast Guard Officers (R) (male) and one SPAR Officer, three enlisted Coast Guardsmen and six enlisted SPARS. In 1945, an Assistant Aids to Navigation Officer, trained especially in electronic aids was assigned to the section.
There was a little overlapping of activities between the Aids to Navigation Section and other departments, although its duties followed closely, in many instances, those of the Engineering Section, Vessel Operations, Port Security, Communications and Communications Engineering. These parallels were, respectively, in regards to surveying sites and deteraining??? structures, the movements of tenders, position of buoys and restricted areas, the monitoring of stations at North Head and Meadowdale and the activities of RACONS and the LORAN systems.
Superintendent of the former Lighthouse Districts became assistants to the District Commanders of the new Coast Guard Districts for the administration and operation of Lighthouse functions. Since, in many cases the Office of the District Commander and that of the Lighthouse Superintendent were in different localities, problems of both administration and operation resulted. As a result, whenever possible, these administrative offices were combined. It was desired to increase efficiency through coordinated use of personnel, vessels, boats, shops and supplies and economy in operation through a reallocation of facilities to avoid duplication.
327 Lighthouse Service personnel were employed in the Seattle District at the time of the consolidation. This was a far cry from the handful of men who beat their way through the wilderness in 1849 to find a site for a lighthouse on the desolate shores of the Northwest Pacific. At that time, Congress had allotted $15,000 for the establishment of two lighthouses and 12 can buoys at the entrance to the Columbia River. This began the activities of the Lighthouse Service in the 13th Lighthouse District which included Oregon and Washington and later Alaska. The boundaries of the Lighthouse Districts followed closely those of the Coast Guard Districts.
I LIGHT STATIONS 1 II LIGHTSHIPS 14 III RADIOBEACONS 18 IV UPPER COLUMBIA RIVER 25 V BLACKOUT 39 VI ANRAC 45 VII SPECIAL BUOYS 51 VIII RACON-LORAN 56 IX LOCAL NOTICES TO MARINERS 68 X BUOY CARD FILE SYSTEM 69 XI TENDERS 75 XII STANDARDIZATION OF MINOR AIDS 80 XIII PERSONNEL OF AIDS TO NAVIGATION SECTION 83 XIV CHAPTER NOTES 1,11
the construction of roads by the State Highway Departments made the outlying stations more readily accessible.
Seventy keepers were in residence on the Stations when the Lighthouse Service was consolidated with the Coast Guard in 1939. During the war, this number had increased to 176 on these stations. The increase was due, primarily, to the fact that unskilled men inducted into the Service had not the training, background, nor interest in the Station which was common to the men earlier assigned there. Furthermore, the work at the station increased during the war years; Coastal Lookout units with their dogs and horses were generally located on Station grounds. this necessitated turning the dwellings of the Keepers into barracks to quarter the increased personnel and building kennels, stables and shelters for equipment. The end of the war began the gradual reduction of the Stations to their normal peacetime complements.
Early in the war, the Commandant, 13th Naval District, ordered the concealment of ten of the Light Stations that were near military areas or war industries. The walls were "toned down" with gray and the space under the eaves painted black to accentuate the silouette of the Station as it appeared from the water. (Tongue Point Repair Base was provided with a camouflage net to cover the wharves where vari-colored buoys and markers were stored. This Base was in the vicinity of the Naval Air Station, Astoria, and the work was done in conjunction with assistance from that activity.) Army activities near Coast Guard units furnished the paint for camouflaging the structures. The last of the stations was returned to its normal peace time color by the end of the summer, 1945. (See sixth page for camouflage technique)
A continuous lookout adwatch was maintained by the Keepers of New Dungeness, Ediz Hook, Slip Point and Cape Flattery Lighthouses beginning, strangely enough, 6 December, 1941. All vessels, aircraft, or any suspicious activity (such as attempts at communications between persons on shore (such as attempts at communications between persons on shore and unidentified vessels) were reported to Naval Section Base at Port Angeles and the Harbor Defense, Fort Worden. This order directed that persons engaged in suspicious activity should be apprehended and taken into custody. However, this directive was rescinded and, rather than take such individuals into custody, observers notified the nearest Army or Navy intelligence who took the necessary action.
Drills in the use of the gas mask were held at all Light Stations and a course in Chemical Warfare was complusory
for 16 months before it was decided that the only possible means of returning her to her station was by hauling her overland through the woods and launching her in the Columbia River. The No. 50 was constructed of wood and remained in service only until 1909 when she was replaced by the steel-hulled lightship.
During the amalgamation of the Lighthouse Service and The Coast Guard in 1939, four lightships, the COLUMBIA RIVER LIGHTSHIP 393, the UMATILLA REEF LIGHTSHIP #88, the RELIEF LIGHTSHIP #92 and the SWIFTSURE LIGHTSHIP #113, were transferred to the Coast Guard. These four lightships maintained only three stations as the RELIEF LIGHTSHIP #92 was used on all stations as relief. They were steel-hulled vessels with a displacement of approximately 685 tones and a complement of 3 to 6 officers and 5 to 11 crew. All but one was built around 1908; the SWIFTSURE LIGHTSHIP #113 was the newest and it was completed in 1929. In addition to exhibiting a bright beacon light, the lightships were also equipped with sound signals, [radio]], radio-telephone, and radiobeacons. In addition to their regular duties as lightships, they were also instructed during the early days of the war, to notify the Commandant, 13th Naval District of all vessels passing the Columbia River northbound.
At the outbreak of the war, LIGHTSHIPS NO. 88 and 113, were removed from their stations by the Navy and replaced by lighted whistle buoys. The ships were reconverted by removing the radiobeacon and antenna mast, by installing armament, by realtering radio facilities and by increasing the complement to 30 Coast Guardsmen and 5 Coast Guard Officers. The No. 88 was then placed in the Strait of Juan de Fuca as a Recognition Ship and the No 113 was sent into Alaskan waters. The removal of these two ships left only the COLUMBIA RIVER LIGHTSHIP #93 on station at the entrance to the Columbia River with the No. 92 to be used as its relief.
The use of one lightship as standby only, seemed most uneconomical of ships and men at a time when they were at a premium. The District Coast Guard Officer, with the approval of the Commander, Northwest Sea Frontier, proposed to Headquarters that the COLUMBIA RIVER LIGHTSHIP #93 should remain on station for a month and then, on a clear day with good weather, the ship would leave her station, go to Astoria for fuel and supplies and return before dark. A station buoy would be placed close to the Lightship's position at all times and mark the station when the Lightship itself was absent. Such an arrangement would permit the RELIEF LIGHTSHIP to be used as part of the Offshore Observation Force.
Causes of radiobeacon failures were generally easily repairs, but it was the duration of these failures which the District Coast Guard Office worked incessantly to overcome. Monitor stations experienced great difficulty, at times, in notifying an offending station of its inoperation due to the frequent inability to make radio contact with the radiobeacon station which necessitated routing the message through other stations or agencies. Heavy storms in the area destroyed telephone communication and on occasion, visual signals had to be relayed to certain stations. Alarm units, as noted above, were not perfected, so frequently radiobeacon stations were unaware of their defective operation until notified by the Monitor Station. Had there been some means for notifying, under all conditions, the radiobeacon station of its faulty operation immediately after the failure was detected, the duration of faulty operation would have been greatly reduced.
Although the radiobeacons in this District were not operating at 100% efficiency, it was the opinion of the District Office that the beacons were operating on a par with beacons throughout the continental United States. This was determined by the reports from mariners and airmen who used beacons as navigational aids and was also due to the determination of the Aids to Navigation Officer to increase the efficiency of the beacons.
A radiobeacon buoy with a working range from 7 to 50 miles had been developed and was considered in the 13th Naval District the year before the war. Trials were made on batteries in some of the rough waters along the coast and on the Columbia River Bar. The batteries proved too fragile so dry packs were tested; these, too, developed defects. As the packs cost $40.00 a piece, much experimentation proved too costly. The District Coast Guard Officer saw the advantage of a perfected radiobeacon buoy in that a string of such buoys along the coast, 15 to 20 miles apart on the 30 fathom curve, would eliminate the necessity of the UMATILLA REEF LIGHTSHIP; the removal of the Lightship would counteract the use of tenders servicing the equipment (buoys had to be serviced every 4 months), as well as the cost. The Aids to Navigation Officer and the District Coast Guard Officer were both in favor of the establishment of a radiobeacon buoy at Grays Harbor Entrance where there had been considerable agitation for a Lightship; this station was within easy run for the CGC MANZANITA. Had the buoy proved applicable to conditions at Grays Harbor, buoys could have easily been installed at Duntze Rock, Yaquina Bay, Tillamook Rock, Umpqua, Coos Bay and Wherever tender equipment was available.
One of the most remarkable advances in inland marine navigation was that which tranferred the swirling waters of the Columbia river into 300 miles of navigable waterway. In 1805, when Lewis and Clark concluded their amazing trek to the Northwest Coast, vast portions of the Columbia River defied the explorers' attempts to transport their party and supplies on its broad expanse. Almost 140 years later, great ocean-going vessels were able to ply their way into Oregon and Washington river ports.
The wildness of the river lay in the swiftness of the water forming treacherous whirlpools and rapids over the shallow, jagged bottom. To eliminate this danger, two great projects were undertaken: The Bonneville Dam and the Celilo Canal. Although the canal was finished before World War I, river traffic to The Dalles, Oregon, and beyond, had ceased around 1916. In 1932, navigation in this section was revived for the transportation of wheat, but the service between the Upper and Lower ports was intermittent. This renewal of navigation was more or less on a trial basis to determine if sufficient commerce could be developed to support water carrier operation.
Sufficient traffic was realized and, after the construction of the Bonneville Dam which was completed in 1938, river traffic expanded into the movement of great steel barges designed to carry liquid petroleum in the hull and package or bulk cargo on deck. With this increase of traffic from Astoria, Oregon, beyond The Dalles, Oregon, the necessity of navigational aids to insure the mariner's safety became most apparent. As a result, the Seattle District centered the majority of its activities in the promotion of safe navigation along the river. Here was the proving grounds for experimental light structures and buoys to determine those most suitable for the area. Due to the rapid current, ranges marking channels had to be so perfected as to enable the mariners to ascertain his course in split-second timing.
The sheer steep cliffs of this area presented problems in erecting shore structures and the swift waters made the mooring of buoys almost impossible. Even before the consolidation of the Lighthouse Service and the Coast Guard, the problems of marking the river had been of primary importance to the Lighthouse Service and basic markings had been established along the banks. The last allotment made to the Service in 1939 was for the establishment of additional lights in the Columbia, Umpqua and Yaquina Bay. River traffic
THE PICTURE SHOWS AN INLAND NAVIGATION CO. BARGE ST(R)ANDED IN THE CELILO RAPIDS, GIVES AN IDEA OF THE DIFFICULT CHANNELS, THE SWIFT AND SHALLOW WATER, AND THE GENERAL TERRAIN WITH WHICH NAVIGATORS IN THIS VICINITY MUST COPY. THE BARGE HAD BROKEN LOOSE FROM ITS MOORINGS AND DRIFTED TO THIS PRECARIOUS POSITION. IT WAS FLOATED BY THE RELEASE OF A HEAD OF WATER FROM COULEE DAM WHICH TOOK 2 TO 3 DAYS TO REACH THE AREA. RESCUE WAS CONDUCTED BY CABLES BETWEEN MEN ON THE BARGE AND THE SHORE AS POWER BOATS WERE NOT ABLE TO ENTER THE RIVER AT THIS POINT. THE NAVIGATION CO. REALIZED CONSIDERABLE LOSS IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE ALTHOUGH INSTANCES OF THIS TYPE ARE NOT UNCOMMON IN RIVER TRAFFIC. THIS BARGE IS TYPICAL OF THOSE FOUND IN THE COLUMBIA RIVER AREA.
The area between Bonneville, Oregon, and The Dalles, Oregon, consisted of two deep water pools which were formed by the construction of the Bonneville Dam and was well lighted with numerous river bank lights. a meeting with vessel operators a few months before the war resulted in the unanimous approval of the lights as they were at that time. Requests were constantly made for installation of buoys but none were developed which could ride the swift current during freshets. Oil drum buoys were set out in the vicinity of Celilo and, at the conclusion of the war, were still the most effective buoy markings. The buoys had been painted white, with red or black band markings as the navigators had found it difficult to pick out the solid red or black buoys at night. The mariners urged the development of a surface riding buoy equipped with reflectors as reflectors could not be installed on the oil drums. The dependency of tugboat operators on these markings was evidenced in the fact that if the tender assigned to that area was unable to replace an
oil drum, the operator himself would pick up the drum and sinker and place it on station en route. Early in 1941, this was common practice as that section between The Dalles, Oregon and Umatilla, Oregon, was seriously handicapped by the lack of sufficient boat equipment. At the beginning of the war, an especially built 65' buoy boat was assigned to that area.
Experiments were made to determine the effectiveness of surface riding buoys, the first being with a Wallace and Tiernan and a 13th District boat type buoy, designed for the Columbia River. The buoys were placed on station in the Upper Columbia where the current was 8 miles per hour. The Wallace and Tiernan buoy was lost a month after its installation and a careful search of the river banks and dragging the river bottom failed to produce it or its mooring. Reports indicate that, until the time it disappeared, it had performed in an extremely satisfactory manner. The 13th District buoy was still in place at the conclusion of the war.
On the following page are photographs of the Headquarters pre-fabricated fast water buoy during assemblage and on station. The illustration of the boat type buoy is the District buoy which was placed on station and which at the conclusion was still in position. The Headquarters buoy did not prove equally successful.
(image) HOUSER FAST WATER BUOY
At Vancouver, Washington, Experiments were conducted in the use of Scotchlite, which is a plastic reflector material, on daymarks in the summer of 1943. Its success paved the way for similar installations on beacons in the Upper Columbia around The Dalles, Oregon. However, due to the heavy sands which stuck to the Scotchlite, it was abandoned in favor of the reflector buttons which protruded far enough from
miles from Mason City to the Canadian border. A question arose as to whether or not Roosevelt Lake constituted part of "the navigable waters of the United States" as interpreted by the laws. In March, 1944, the Law Officer advised that Roosevelt Lake was navigable and, together with the Columbia River which flows into it and gives rise to it, furnished a water way for foreign commerce. With this fact established, it became necessary to establish aids to navigation along the lengths of this lake. At that time, there was very little traffic on Roosevelt Reservoir but it was the opinion of local marine interests that the traffic was bound to increase not only commercially but in pleasure craft following the war. Numerous hazards existed that made travel especially dangers under the conditions as they then existed. In a meeting between the Superintendent of the Coulee Dam and representatives of the District Coast Guard Officer, location were proposed for spar buoys to be anchored in the lake and provide the shortest run from Grand Coulee Dam to Kettle Falls, Washington. These locations were consistent with assumed limitations of 20 feet of water at buoy locations with a maximum reservoir drawdown at elevation 1208 and a minimum distance between the buoys 1/2 mile; the normal elevation of the reservoir when full is 1290. An investigation made by the Aids to Navigation Officer determined that 27 lights and 10 reflectors would suffice to mark the lake. The Bureau of Reclamation was in favor of the establishment of 51 buoys but the District Coast Guard Officer felt that buoys would be impracticable for several reasons. Due to the lowering of the water to different levels which would cause different shoal areas to appear and changes would have to be made in the buoys to keep the channel safely and effectively marked. Furthermore, the mountainous land area which formed the bottom of the lake together with the deep water, rendered use of buoys inadvisable; for in many places the buoys would be moored in over 200 feet of water which would require large buoys and, consequently, the services of a buoy tender. Unlighted buoys were not considered, for, as such, they would be inadequate. For these reasons then the Aids to Navigation Officer determined that the 27 lights and 10 reflectors would be adequate. These lighted aids would consist of a battery box on a concrete foundation with a 200mm lantern with a focal plane of 12 feet. Aids were to display a white light of 90 candlepower, flashing either every 4 seconds, 6 seconds or 10 seconds, and were to be serviced by the Seattle Operating Base twice a year with half of the batter cells being relieved at a time. The Bureau of Reclamation extended the use of one of its boats to be used in establishing these aids and in the servicing of them.
be blacked out by the unit having charge of that area. Commanding Officers were instructed to exercise their best judgement in the assignment of trucks, tenders, or small boats and these assignments were determined in advance.
Commanding Officers were further directed to familiarize themselves with the aids in their area, securing keys necessary for entrance to equipment and to properly instruct personnel under their command, in order that the blackout could be carried out smoothly and expeditiously. Sound buoys were silenced by securely lashing bell clappers or air intakes and whistles were wrapped with canvas and securely lashed. The District Coast Guard Office was to be notified by dispatch when the blackout had been effected or aids had been relighted, in accordance with District orders.
In October, 1941, a conference was held at Tongue Point Depot, Astoria, Oregon, to instruct personnel from that area in the operations required of the various types of aids to navigation to effect the Blackout Plan. A blackout drill of all units under command of the Astoria Base was held on October 22, 1941. Each aid was visited and examined by the personnel assigned thereto to ascertain type of equipment, the correct way to make the aid inoperative and the tools and materials required. During the practice, only an examination was made and the operation of the aids was not stopped. This was the only test of its kind in the 13th Naval District prior to the outbreak of the war.
On 9 December, 1941, a blackout was effected in the entire District on instructions from the District Commandant. Three officers, together with a small staff of enlisted personnel, issued instructions to the various Commands from the Aids to Navigation Office. Orders for the blackout were received at 1400 and, by 2200, the blackout was completely effected. Tremendous obstacles were encountered, there having been no previous test of the Plan as set by the Board in September. Bridges throughout the District were blacked out, although no plan had incorporated such procedure and railroad officials as well as highway superintendents offered little cooperation. No word was received from the blacked areas as to the time their aids were extinguished nor was word received that they had been relighted following the blackout. This was due to the inability of telephone and radio facilities to handle such heavy traffic. No report was required concerning the results of the operation and a general blackout, other than tests in various areas, was every made in the District.