FIR's primary mission is to service and maintain 150 aids to navigation along the Pacific coasts of Oregon and Washington, as well as in the Columbia River. The buoys 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. 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. Below are some pictures showing FIR engaged in what it does best: buoytending.
Several times per year, 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. Below are some pictures of FIR engaged in NOAA operations.
Like all Coast Guard cutters, FIR does more than just one mission. FIR spends approximately one month per year engaged in fisheries law enforcement off the coasts of Washington and Oregon. Additionally, FIR was recently outfitted with SORS, a Spilled Oil Recovery System. In the event of a major oil spill somewhere on the West Coast, it is possible that FIR will be deployed to help in the cleanup response.