Two Guys And A Bar, A Joke? No, Wrong kind Of Bar.

Umpqua River Bar
Umpqua River Bar At Winchester Bay | photo by USCG

I’m not referring to the “Bar” as used in legal terminology either. That definition according to Wikipedia is: “the division of a courtroom between working and public areas; the process of qualifying to practice law; or the legal profession.”  The bar I’m talking about has a  simple definition. According to the National Weather Service a bar is defined as: “an obstacle formed at the shallow entrance to the mouth of a river or bay.” The specific bar I have in mind is the bar at the mouth of the Umpqua River.

Umpqua River Bar
Umpqua River Bar At Winchester Bay | photo by USCG

OK, now you might be wondering why I would be telling you anything about the Umpqua River Bar and what could I possibly say that would interest you. I would have the same questions if it were not for a recent United States Coast Guard press release. The headline reads: ” THE COAST GUARD ANNOUNCES PILOT PROGRAM USE OF NIXLE FOR BAR REPORTS ON OREGON COAST.” This is actually a breakthrough for boaters who need the conditions at bar to safely navigate from the river out into the ocean and back again. The way it has been in the past is that boaters might have to call the U. S. Coast Guard Office multiple times in one day to know what conditions to expect. What has changed is the Nixle connection. Nixle is a website that allows private citizens access to the current bulletins and announcements from agencies like your local police, the State Police, and now the Coast Guard condition reports for the Umpqua River on Winchester Bay.

Nixle Emergency Alerts | Image livoniapd
Nixle Emergency Alerts | Image livoniapd

It works this way. The interested person registers for an account with Nixle, a free service, requesting the bar condition reports. They will then receive a message whenever the Coast Guard updates the bar report. That text message can be received on a cellular device or an email to their account with the broadcast released directly from the Coast Guard Station Umpqua River.

Coast Guard Station
U.S. Coast Guard Station Umpqua River At Winchester Bay | photo by USCG

This is a pilot program that began November 28, 2014 and is set to run through January 28, 2015. They say more stations could be added to the program and if they are added notification will be made through press releases.

Quoting the press release again: “Bar reports usually begin at first light each morning, and are released every couple of hours, or as bar conditions change. During periods of extreme tides, weather, or rain runoff, there may be numerous updates throughout the day, continuing on to last light at sunset for the final bar conditions update.” Here is a sample of the Local Bar Conditions Report from the National Weather Service and the U.S. Coast Guard. You’ll find the Umpqua River Bar Condition Report in the 8th position as you scroll down the list.

There are also Bar Cameras along the Oregon coast. Here is the link to view them at your leisure. Remember you can only view them during daylight hours. Another way to get updated bar reports is on the radio at 1610 on the AM dial. There is also a large red LED lighted in front of the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Winchester Bay. The Coast Guard would like to get comments from the boating public concerning this new way to obtain the information. They ask that you send your comments to them to Chief Petty Officer J. Nilles, executive petty officer, Coast Guard Station at Umpqua River at 541-271-8401 or email to [email protected] by January 30, 2015.

For those of you interested in beginning boating information including safety information check out the Coast Guard uscgboating site. Need information about a career in the U.S. CoastGuard? Then go to the USCG career page.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].


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