Maine Residents Upset Over Fog Horn Changes

Maine Residents Upset Over Fog Horn Changes
The Goat Island Lighthouse on Cape Porpoise is one of many to have it’s foghorn replace.d Photo/Wikimedia Commons

Coast Guard News: For Tom Bradbury and his neighbors, the town foghorn is more than just a familiar, wistful noise — it represents something greater, like peace itself.

“There’s a sense that someone is on guard, watching over those who are on the water,” Bradbury said. “We find it a very pleasing, comforting sound.”

That’s why Bradbury, of Kennebunkport, and hundreds of New Englanders are sounding the alarm over a Coast Guard plan to convert old-style foghorns to newer technology. The Coast Guard is converting Maine and New Hampshire foghorns that are automated to activate in the presence of fog. It says newer technology activated by mariners via marine radios — which tends to result in fewer of the foghorns’ familiar blasts — is safer and more cost effective.

The move has proved unpopular in some Maine communities, and the Coast Guard will soon start a yearlong campaign to inform the public about the conversions. Coast Guard officials said its plan is for the conversions to eventually leave Maine with no more of the old-time foghorn activation systems.

So far the Coast Guard has changed 7 foghorns and plans to convert 18 more. The converted foghorns range from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Maine’s Mistake Island, about 50 miles from Canada. The lights slated for conversion are all along the coast.

Read more about the Coast Guard’s plans to convert foghorns.