It’s National Coast Guard Day!

Celebrate Newport’s heroes with a trip to the Oregon Coast

The U.S. Coast Guard has been keeping locals and visitors safe in Newport since 1896, and August 4 is National Coast Guard Day!

For one-hundred and twenty-two years, Newport’s Yaquina Bay Coast Guard Station has been safeguarding the twenty-seven miles of coastline from Cape Perpetua to Spencer Creek. The Yaquina Bay Station’s primary mission is search and rescue and maritime law enforcement; they respond to more than 500 calls a year and are always at the ready to save lives. With over forty-five active duty servicemen and women, they are able to conduct motor lifeboat and helicopter search and rescue at a moment’s notice.

Although search and rescue missions are conducted everywhere from the rugged coastline to miles out into the open ocean, many life saving operations happen just outside of the Yaquina Bay Jetty in an area known simply as the bar. The Yaquina Bay bar is an invisible horizontal barrier, where the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean meet with the much shallower waters coming from the mouth of the Yaquina River causing extremely dangerous conditions for boats returning to the bay. During these conditions, most boating accidents on the bar are caused by capsizing, or when the boat overturns or is flipped over by large waves.

Thomas McAdams knows how dangerous the bar can be.  As a coxswain (the sailor in charge of steering a boat) during a 1957 rescue, McAdams saved four people who had capsized in the surf off Yaquina Bay, even jumping into the ocean as part of the lifesaving mission. During his 27 years of service in the Coast Guard, McAdams is credited with saving hundreds of lives, and received the title “champion lifesaver and lifeboat roller of the Pacific Coast.” Thomas McAdams retired from the Coast Guard in 1977, and although having been stationed up and down the Pacific Coast, he chose to stay in Newport. The motor lifeboat that McAdams used in the 1957 rescue, CG36503, was retired in 1970 and is displayed on the Coast Guard Yaquina Bay Station campus lawn just above the southwestern edge of Newport’s Historic Bayfront. National Coast Guard Day is an opportunity for Newport to honor Thomas McAdams and the men and women who follow in his footsteps to keep locals and visitors safe on land and at sea.

Long before Newport was first settled as a town, The U.S. Coast Guard was originally called the Reserve Marine when it was created on August 4, 1790 to enforce the first U.S. maritime laws. The Guard was given its present name in 1915 when the Reserve Cutter Service was merged with the U.S. Life-Saving Service, providing the nation with a single service that would enforce maritime law and save lives at sea. The Coast Guard began maintaining national aids to navigation when it was given the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1939, and took over merchant marine licensing and merchant vessel safety in 1946. In 1967, the Guard was transferred from the Treasury Department to the newly created Department of Transportation, and more recently, control of the Coast Guard was given to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2003.

Plan a trip to Newport on National Coast Guard Day and help us honor the service of the heroes who strive to keep us safe from the potential dangers of the mighty Pacific Ocean.

Newport looks forward to welcoming you! Click here for more info on visiting Newport.