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The Aspen and crew finish placing a buoy marking the entrance to Tillamook Bay, Oregon, Aug. 17.

Coast Guard members established missing aids to navigation and realigned the entrance to Tillamook Bay this week during an ongoing mission along the Pacific Northwest coast, according to a Coast Guard report.

Coast Guard Cutter Aspen, a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender homeported in San Francisco, transited the Oregon Coast this past week correcting several buoy discrepancies. One such error was correcting the radio transmitter beacon for the buoy marking the entrance to the Columbia River.

The Aspen is currently the only heavy-lift capable buoy tender along the western coast of the United States. Coast Guard Cutter Elm normally handles buoy work in the Pacific Northwest; however, due to routine scheduled maintenance, they were unable to attend to any of the aids.

“We’re glad to ensure mariners in the Pacific Northwest have properly operating navigation aids to safely transit these notoriously rough waters,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey West, commanding officer of the Aspen. “The Oregon and Washington coasts are beautiful, but they present unique dangers, and the crew is proud to keep boaters safe. It has been a rewarding trip.”

Managing fixed and floating aids to navigation are one of the 11 statutory missions of the Coast Guard. The Aspens’ main area of responsibility is the San Francisco Bay Area and the California coast. The crew also performs various law enforcement and environmental missions, including oil spill response.

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A crew member from Aspen watches as a buoy is set back in the ocean near the mouth of the Umpqua River, Oregon, Aug. 17. The crew removed the old buoy and replaced it with a new one.

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