USCGC Fir (WLB-213)
"The Bar Tender"
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Fir's primary mission is to service and maintain 115 aids to navigation along the Pacific coasts of Oregon and Washington, as well as in the Columbia River. The buoys USCGC Fir maintains are essential to commercial vessel traffic in major shipping ports such as Coos Bay, Newport, Astoria, Portland, Longview, and Seattle via the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The USCGC Fir's Area of Responsibility extends from the Oregon/California border north to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and east in the Columbia River to Longview, Washington.
Several times per year, the USCGC Fir deploys jointly with members of the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to deploy and service weather buoys in the Pacific Ocean. Coastal weather buoys are critical for accurate weather forecasting, and greatly benefit both the commercial shipping and fishing industries along the Northwest coast.
Like all Coast Guard cutters, the USCGC Fir does more than just one mission. The USCGC Fir spends approximately one month per year engaged in fisheries law enforcement off the coasts of Washington and Oregon. Additionally, the USCGC Fir is outfitted with SORS, a Spilled Oil Recovery System. In the event of a major oil spill it is possible that the USCGC Fir will be deployed to help in the cleanup response, as was done in 2010's response to the Deep Water Horizon spill.