The 2012 Midcoast Maine Lighthouse Challenge has it all for those who appreciate the storied history of the Pine Tree State’s coastal beacons!
From the opportunity to climb seven Midcoast Maine lights and experience their alluring beauty to discovering our lighthouse past at the Maine Lighthouse Museum and learning about the majestic sailing vessels of a bygone era at the Penobscot Marine Museum and the Sail, Steam and Power Museum, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Yet for all their history, Maine’s lighthouses are still very much a relevant part of the present; serving the seafaring community with their guiding lights and powerful fog horns. In all, Maine still has 52 working lighthouses today, which are maintained by the United States Coast Guard.
So if you ever wondered how lighthouses work or are curious as to the latest advances in lighthouse technology, then be sure to make it a point to stop by the American Lighthouse Foundation’s Gift Store and Interpretive Center at 464 Main Street in downtown Rockland during the Midcoast Maine Lighthouse Challenge on June 23rd and 24th.
Personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Southwest Harbor will be staffing an exhibit of modern lights and equipment at ALF’s interpretive center on Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm that is sure fascinate young and old alike.
The exhibit will include an array of traditional incandescent beacons – some made to “wink & blink,” as well as the latest technology in light emitting diode (LED) beacons – something the kids can help “light up” while they are viewing the display!
Fog signal equipment and a slide show highlighting the Coast Guard’s modern day work at the lights will also be part of this interesting exhibit. Coastguardsmen will also explain how Maine lighthouses, which are located on the mainland, islands and ledges, are serviced today via trucks, boats and helicopters.
Overall, USCG Aids to Navigation Team Southwest Harbor, which is under the command of BMC Timothy Chase, maintains twenty six light aids (24 lighthouses and 2 light towers), as well as a plethora of buoys from Port Clyde to the Canadian border.
Don’t miss out on this educational opportunity to learn more about the Coast Guard’s present day efforts to maintain the lights and fog horns at Maine’s lighthouses!
Did you know?
- Eight Maine lighthouses still have their historic Fresnel lenses. The lights with Fresnel lenses are: Bass Harbor, Brown’s Head, Cape Neddick, Fort Point, Owls Head, Pemaquid Point, Seguin Island and West Quoddy Head.
- Five U.S. Coast Guard units are responsible for keeping the lights in Maine’s lighthouses, and include the aids to navigation teams at Southwest Harbor and South Portland, as well as cutters SHACKLE, TACKLE and BRIDLE.
- The United States Coast Guard continues to serve as the keeper of the lights along America’s coastlines, maintaining the optics (and fog horns where applicable) in approximately 400 historic lighthouses nationwide.