Men fish from boats on the choppy Columbia River June 15, 2006 in The Dalles, Oregon.
Men fish from boats on the choppy Columbia River June 15, 2006 in The Dalles, Oregon. - 
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The Columbia River Bar is one of the most dangerous places in the world for ships of all sizes. That's where the Columbia River Bar Pilots come in. These specially trained experts pilot cargo and passenger ships of all sizes across the bar into the river that separates Oregon from Washington. Captain Deborah Dempsey was the first woman to become a pilot with the organization and she tells us why tying your shoes can keep you from falling "in the drink"— and what happened the one time she didn't.

 If you want to learn more about some of the nautical terms Dempsey uses during her talk with us, check out our listen-along glossary.

And don't forget to send us your suggestions for the next Make Me Smart book club!

Follow Molly Wood at @mollywood