This is Arrow No. 2, the boat that takes river pilots out to the big ships and brings them back. If you click on the image to zoom in, you can see who uses the buoy besides the ships' pilots. There are a couple of fat sea lions lazing around on the base of the buoy, and a seagull perched on top. This is the Columbia River side of Astoria. The pilot boats don't operate in the bay, although they are sometimes called upon to assist in unusual circumstances, such as in the photo I snapped for this blog's third day online.