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Press Release | May 9, 2024

Coast Guard reopens comment period for a notice of proposed rulemaking to federalize existing anchorage ground near Port Westward, Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Coast Guard has reopened the comment period, Thursday, for the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to federalize an existing anchorage ground in the Columbia River near Port Westward, Oregon.

Reopening the comment period will allow additional time for the public to review and submit comments on the proposed rule.

The comment period will close on June 7, 2024.

The NPRM titled “Establish Anchorage Ground; Port Westward Anchorage, Columbia River, Oregon and Washington,” was originally published December 27, 2023.

The purpose of federalizing the existing anchorage ground is to increase the safety of navigation in the Columbia River by providing additional space for large commercial vessels to anchor in the event of an emergency or adverse weather.

The designated anchorage plays a key role in ensuring vessel traffic moves safely, especially during low water events when limited deep draft space is available, and vessels need to wait for the next high tide to transit out of the river. Likewise, during adverse winter weather, vessels often must wait to cross the Columbia River bar and require a deep draft location to anchor while fully loaded.

Federalizing anchorage grounds also allows for stern buoys to be installed for the purpose of securing the vessel’s stern while anchored. Stern anchor buoys securely hold the vessel’s stern so they cannot be turned by weather or tidal influence, preventing a catastrophe from a vessel grounding during a tidal swing, or risk of collision from a vessel swinging into the navigation channel. Federalized anchorage grounds designated by the Coast Guard significantly reduce the risk of grounding and collision, which could result in significant environmental and economic impacts.  

An illustration displaying the location of the proposed anchorage grounds, as well as further background information, are available on the docket.

If you would like to submit a comment, please visit the Federal Decision-Making Portal at and search for docket number USCG-2023-0749. Once the docket has been located, click on it to find the comment option.

For more information about this proposed rulemaking the public is requested to contact Coast Guard Sector Columbia River Waterways Management Division by phone at (503) 240-9319 or by email at

Interested media is requested to contact the Coast Guard Public Affairs Detachment Astoria office at (206) 819-9154 for more information.