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USCG replacing fog horns on 17 Maine lighthouses

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The U.S. Coast Guard plans to install Mariner Radio Activated Sound Signal (MRASS) devices at 17 lighthouses across Maine.

The MRASS device will allow mariners to activate the installed sound signal, on demand, by keying a standard VHF-FM radio five times consecutively on VHF channel 83A. The signal will then sound for up to 60 minutes following each activation.

“The MRASS devices will replace aging fog detectors that are prone to failure, expensive to maintain, and require specialized training to preserve,” said Capt. Michael Baroody, commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “We believe giving the mariner more control is an effective way to enhance the coastal aids-to-navigation system.”

The change is part of a larger Coast Guard initiative involving fog signals at lighthouses across the United States. The purpose is to replace the less reliable and less efficient VM-100 fog detectors with a Coast Guard-designed, radio-controlled system, according to a USCG news release.

The lighthouses scheduled to receive the MRASS devices are:

Browns Head Light and Heron Neck Light in Vinalhaven, Burnt Island Light in Boothbay Harbor, Cape Elizabeth Light and Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Dog Island Light and West Quoddy Head Light in Eastport, Egg Rock Light in Frenchman’s Bay, Fort Point Light on the Penobscot River, Goat Island Light in Cape Porpoise, Goose Rocks Light in North Haven, in Vinalhaven, Marshall Point Light in St. George, Owls Head Light in Owls Head, Sequin Light on Sequin Island, Spring Point Ledge Light in South Portland, and Two Bush Island Light and Whitehead Light in Penobscot Bay,

Eight sound signals have been installed on lighthouses in Maine and New Hampshire since October 2009. Mariners with questions, comments or concerns can contact Lt. David Bourbeau, Coast Guard Sector Northern New England, Waterways Management Division Chief, at NNEwaterways@uscg.mil or +1-207-347-5015.

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