Coast Guard anchors

Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment

322 Coast Guard Road, Ilwaco, Wash. 98624

Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment

Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment is located near Cape Disappointment, Washington, at the mouth of the Columbia River. It is the largest United States Coast Guard search and rescue station on the Northwest Coast. CGS Cape Disappointment is the oldest search and rescue station within the Thirteenth Coast Guard District. The first U. S. Life Saving Service station at Cape Disappointment was built on the site of Fort Canby in 1877. The existing station was first occupied in February 1967 and is currently the site for Station Cape Disappointment and the National Motor Lifeboat School. The station’s Area of Responsibility reaches from Ocean Park on the Washington Coast south to Tillamook Head on the Oregon Coast. The station has four search and rescue boats, including: the 52-foot motor lifeboat Triumph, two 47-foot motor lifeboats and a 23-foot utility boat.


The station’s primary missions include providing search and rescue to commercial and recreational mariners within 50 nautical miles of the Columbia River entrance and providing a maritime law enforcement presence near the approaches to the Columbia River. This area is regarded as one of the most treacherous river bars in the world. Because of the large number of shipwrecks near the river entrance, it is often called “The Graveyard of the Pacific.” During winter storms, wind-driven ocean swells often reach a height of 20-30 feet at the entrance of the bar. With the culmination of strong outgoing tides and large incoming swells, large surf conditions can exist in and around the bar entrance.

Arriving at Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment
The nearest major airport is is Portland International Airport (PDX / KPDX) in Portland, Oregon and is 113 miles from the center of Ilwaco, WA.

Base Population
There are approximately 55 active duty and reservists, attached to Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment.