Welcome To Cape Disappointmentâ€¦
The show takes place at Cape Disappointment, at the mouth of the mighty Colombia River. The area, known as the "Graveyard of the Pacific," is one of the most dangerous spots for Coast Guard personnel.
The sleepy nearby town of Ilwaco, Washington offers a perfect antidote to the high octane life of a search and rescue squad stationed at the Cape. Despite the perilous dangers, itâ€™s a vibrant Pacific Northwest town full of crabbers and fishermen who head out every day into hazardous conditions, set against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty â€“ dramatic cliffs, untouched estuaries, and, of course, very powerful weather.
Unlike other major rivers, the current here is focused like a fire hose without the benefit of a river delta. Conditions can change from calm to life-threatening in as little as five minutes due to changes in the direction of wind and ocean swell â€“ waves are known to change from flat clam to 18 feet breaks in minutes.
This is where the master surfmen come to play chicken with the sea, fast boat captains who train for years to prove that they can manage a rescue in forty foot seas and fifty knot winds without getting your face smashed on the deck.
In the last hundred years, over 2,000 large ships have sunk in and around the Columbia Bar. The Coast Guard station here does over 300 rescues a year.