GMG reader asks: Where have all the foghorns gone?

Annisquam Light_20190502_Gloucester MA_ © c ryan.jpg

Question

“I’ve been living in Gloucester now since 2013 (and love it of course!). When we first moved to the city, we could hear the foghorns during inclement weather. However, about a year ago, I noticed that I no longer hear them. I loved this soothing sound on a gray day and am wondering what happened? Have the foghorns been turned off? Thanks!” –Patricia

Answer

Sort of. The foghorn sound has not changed but their frequency has dropped significantly because the systems are no longer automated in situ on light house grounds. Instead, foghorns are on demand now, manually kicked in by vessel operators. They are VHF automated to frequency 83 Alpha.  Five or more consecutive clicks sets the foghorn off for 30, 45 and 60 minutes depending upon the lighthouse.

The USCG in Gloucester explained that the USCGNortheast out of Boston tends the Cape Ann Lighthouses, albeit Thacher Island North Light which is private. The USCG  division responsible for all technology elements is called the “Aids to Navigation Team”, aka the USCGNortheast ANT unit.

Since 2010, slowly but surely the USCG has been replacing the automated VM-100 fog detector systems with  “Marine Radio Activated Sound Signal” or MRASS systems. VM-100 were problematic as parts were no longer fabricated and the systems were deemed less reliable and obsolete. Boaters rely on common knowledge. Many access USCG light list, GPS on their cellphones, chartplotters, and radar. When the weather hedges to the odds of even one boater being confused by fog, evidence suggests crowdsourcing engages the signal. Expect frequency to increase in summer when more boats are on the water.

The change was not without controversy. See the history of transition in Maine. Locally, a 2013 Gloucester Daily Times editorial expressed support of the Rockport Harbormasters’ opposition. Because of broad push back, the roll out was slowed down for better outreach and acceptance.  The “drop date” requiring all foghorns nationwide to be in compliance was May 1, 2019.

“The upkeep of the MRASS foghorns is so much easier,” explains Petty Officer ONeal of the USCG ANT in Boston. “All the foghorns from Plymouth to Newburyport have been converted. Eastern Point was switched over yesterday.”

I sympathize with this lament for the foghorn. And I appreciate the challenge of maintenance and adaptation. Understandably safety, navigation, cost and care were essential topics of discussion, less so audible texture, mood, sense of place & culture. (Never mind the challenge of mastering dead reckoning when vision fails.) The allure of the sound from shores, often traveling great distance, is in the ear of the listener. Beguiling. Haunting. Soothing. Despondent. Scary. Annoying [see bestselling author Elizabeth Stuart Phelps LTE complaints ca.1880 about the whistling buoy off Mother Ann and that’s no foghorn] What do you think, GMG readers, and vessel experts?

Like train engineers blowing the whistle obliging ogling toddlers, maybe a few boaters will queue the sound in dreary weather for pining landlubbers. Technology changes that’s certain. Perhaps the poetic qualities will be baked into future foghorn design despite obsolescence.

The MRASS system is robust and here now. Thanks to USCG Gloucester and Petty Officer ONeal USCGNortheast ANT unit Boston for confirming details and to GMG reader Patricia for a great inquiry!

 

 

 

 

COAST GUARD’S LAST CREWMAN FROM THE HISTORIC CHATHAM BAR PENDLETON RESCUE DIES

CAPE COD TIMES

November 15, 2018

By Beth Treffeisen

CHATHAM — The last surviving member of the Coast Guard crew aboard the motor lifeboat 36500 during the historic 1952 rescue of 32 seamen off the stricken oil tanker Pendleton rescue has died.

Andrew Fitzgerald — known as a funny, brave and reluctant hero — was 86.

“It was a dark and stormy night,” Fitzgerald would say at the start of the story about the harrowing night of Feb. 18. 1952, which forever changed his life.

As a nor’easter raged off the shores of Cape Cod, two large tankers split in half, propelling the then 20-year-old Coast Guard engineer and three other Coast Guardsmen into history on their 36-foot boat.

Facing 60-foot high seas, the four men boarded the 36500, led by coxswain Bernard Webber, and headed out into the storm to find the sinking tanker Pendleton, where 33 men waited anxiously for help.

As the crew of the 36500 navigated through the Chatham sandbar, which is tricky enough on a good day, they lost their compass, said Peter Kennedy, who worked on the major restoration of the boat.

Fitzgerald was in the front of the boat when it hit some swells and knocked him all the way back toward the rear, he said.

Then, the engine stalled and Fitzgerald had to go down below and re-prime it, said Kennedy. Fitzgerald was burned by the hot plugs as he restarted the engine, Kennedy said.

“He had quite a history,” said Kennedy. “He was thrown out of the boat and got back into the boat to restart the engine in 30- to 40-foot seas.”

The crew of the Coast Guard rescue boat 365000 after rescuing 32 crewmen from the tanker Pendleton off the coast of Chatham in 1952. From left are Bernie Webber, Andrew Fitzgerald, Richard Livesey, and Ervin Maske. Coast Guard Photo

READ MORE HERE

 

Bring the Family Down to Community Safety Day!

Bring the family down to Harbor Loop on September 29th from 10AM to 2PM for a Community Safety Day.

There will be many exhibits from the Gloucester Police and Fire Departments as well as others. A $5 fee will be collected from adults and children are free.

100% of proceeds will benefit the Cops for Kids with Cancer Foundation.

The day’s activities will include:

  • Police Vehicles and Equipment
  • Fire Trucks and Ambulances
  • State Police Horses on site and State Police Helicopter Fly By
  • Tours of US Coast Guard Base and Boats
  • First Responders
  • Police K9 dogs
  • Music and food
  • and more

What a great way to spend the day with family and friends while supporting our Police and Fire Departments as they work to raise money for an incredibly important charity.

It is going to be such a great day and they are looking forward to a wonderful crowd.

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Searching for Artist! Byron Brooks? Part 2

Searching for artist! Byron Brooks? query from Kate Foley posted November 2016 on Good Morning Gloucester generated comments about the artist and his work. I was inspired to piece together some of my primary research and the comments into an informal online catalogue. It’s very much a loose work in progress! Hope it helps people searching for information about the artist, and compels collectors to share additional images of his art.  Just this week (6/27/18) another GMG reader commented that they acquired a Brooks painting in Tucson, AZ.

Byron Brooks online catalogue

Byron Brooks - Good Morning Gloucester requests for information©c ryan

Byron Brooks_ WWII veteran, Coast Guard_ Artist_Gloucester resident_ born in Manchester_grave Pleasant Grove Cemetery Manchester MA_20180628_072316 ©C Ryan (3)
Byron Brooks gravesite, Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Manchester, Mass.

Byron Brooks is not listed in any artist biographical compilations. The index card sketch below mimics the format as IF he were listed in Who Was Who in American Art:

BROOKS, Byron [Painter] b. 1906, Manchester, Mass | d. 1978, Gloucester, MA.
Addresses: 12 Stage Fort Park Avenue and 2 Davis St in Gloucester, MA (Willet Street during the war)

Studied: not known

Member:
Manchester Art Association

Exhibited: 1961, Tenth Annual Cape Ann Festival of the Arts, Visual Arts Exhibition, Section VIII, Balcony Show. Painting, “Rock Clipper Ship”. Emily Anderson chairman (curator) 1957, Sixth Annual Cape Ann Festival of the Arts, “Cottage by the Sea”, Group SP (Sunday Painters section), curated by Emily Anderson
*Brooks ran a gallery from his home

Work: collection of Addison Gilbert Hospital
Employment: Driver-Delivery; employed by City of Gloucester Highway Dept

Veteran:  WWII veteran, served in the Coast Guard

Know Someone Interested in an Engineering Career at Sea? Check out This Opportunity.

While I may not be an expert, I know enough about the Merchant Marines (and standard college tuition rates), to know that this is a pretty incredible opportunity…and an even better deal.  Think hard about whether or not you may know someone who should take advantage of this….before this ship sails.  This program is currently being offered to help find qualified marine engineers as a shortage of such individuals is becoming evident.

To summarize…this program, created by American Maritime Officers and the Seafarers International Union …is offering free training and tuition, room and board, travel expenses, medical insurance, an on-shore stipend, wages for time at sea, and more to qualified candidates to prepare them for a seafaring career.  In just about 30 months, upon successful completion of the program and its phases, graduates will finish, qualified by the United States Coast Guard, and ready to sit for the Third Assistant Engineer exam.  Upon passing the exam, a pretty sweet salary, a career at sea, and the opportunity to travel around the world, will be theirs.

Take a look at their brochure for much more information….and then share with someone who may be interested.

Also find more information at the link below…including an application

The application deadline for the class beginning in January of 2017 is August 8th, 2016.

https://www.star-center.com/techprogram/techprogram.html

“I Made These For You”

Last week I did a post about our “Great Holiday Cookie Giveaway”.  If you didn’t see it, check it out here.  It is pretty sweet, if I do say so myself.

Better to Give Than Receive

My students decided that it would be better to give than receive. They opted to skip the annual gingerbread house making for themselves and instead baked like crazy in class and at home. We then made a list of recipients and delivered holiday treats from Beverly to Ipswich to people whom our school is thankful for. We wish we could have made 100 more stops.

So, the other day, Finn finished his job.  In addition to delivering cookies as a class on a school day, each child also brought a box of cookies home to deliver to someone special.  Finn chose to deliver his to the Gloucester Coast Guard Station at Harbor Loop.  You may remember that my boys have both loved and respected members of the Coast Guard for quite some time.

Here’s another post in case you want to read up on that….

Thank you, Grand Isle

So, here is Finn’s letter…and a photo of him delivering his treats to a Petty Officer.

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BREAKING NEWS: COAST GUARD SEARCHING FOR MISSING WOMAN

COAST GUARD, LOCALS SEARCH SMITH COVE IN GLOUCESTER, MA, FOR MISSING WOMAN

BOSTON – The Coast Guard, Gloucester police, Marine Environmental Police, and the Gloucester Harbor Master are searching Saturday for a woman who may be missing near Smith Cove in Gloucester.

Missing is Suzan Nilsson, 56.

Gloucester police alerted watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Boston Saturday at about 1:30 p.m. to the situation. They relayed that Nilsson did not show up for work Saturday morning, and was last heard from via text message Friday night. Her belongings were found on the pier in Smith Cove.

A 29-foot response boat crew from Coast Guard Station Gloucester and an MH-60 helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod deployed to help search for the woman.

Anyone with information on Nilsson’s whereabouts is requested to contact Coast Guard Sector Boston at 617-223-5757.

 

A VIDEO MEMORIAL: TO ALL THOSE WHO SERVE AND HAVE SERVED

This is a video I did about 11 years ago while working for the Virginian-Pilot and HamptonRoads.tv in Norfolk, Va.

An amazing friend and musician Todd “Tones” Jones produced and played on the track. He’s an amazing guitarist as you will hear. When I first heard this track, I immediately knew I had to create a Memorial Day tribute video. I filmed all the locations throughout the entire Hampton Roads area. (this was pre-HD, sorry) Please enjoy and share!

ARMY, NAVY, AIRFORCE, MARINES, COAST GUARD, NATIONAL GUARD…..THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE

Thank You, Grand Isle

There have been some great posts (and gorgeous photos) about the USCG Cutter Grand Isle, its years of service, and the fact that it was decommissioned earlier this week.

This may sound silly, but here in Rockport, at our tiny little home, it was sad news.

My boys have loved that vessel since they could both say, “boat.”  The several months that the Grand Isle left us back in 2011 for an overhaul in Baltimore were loooong months for Thatcher and Finn.  Such a quirky thing, but they missed her presence in the harbor greatly.

Grown-ups do coffee runs….  Thatcher and Finn have asked me to do boat runs for as long as I can remember.  I’ve written about this before, so forgive me if you read it, but for YEARS now, no matter the season, we have been doing the tour.  “The tour?”  You may ask.  Well, it goes like this….  some time in the parking lot of Cape Ann Marina to see the shrink wrapped boats, or a drive by the docks to see those in the water, down the boulevard, past the Fishermen’s Wives Statue, a quick sit at the Man at the Wheel to watch whatever traffic may be going in or out of the harbor, through the fort, past St. Peter’s Square, check on some of the fishing fleet, look for the Privateer, check on the Lannon, down Washington Street to Harbor Loop, count the Coast Guard inflatables and grey 47-footers, see who is docked behind Captain Carlos, down to Cape Ann Whale Watch to see the Hurricane, and then on to the their Disney….The State Fish Pier.   Each and every time…upon driving past Pratty’s, the boys would declare, “I think the Grand Isle is in!” or “I think the Grand Isle is out!”  “What do you think, Mom?”  They’d make me drive crazy slow to let the anticipation build until the nose of our Jeep would peak past the Environmental Police building to catch a glimpse…or not…of the mighty Grand Isle.  It took a couple of years for them to realize that if they would just look up (at high tide anyway) they could see her yellow tower rising from the harbor…hence giving her away.

Thatcher, in particular, has been somewhat obsessed with the Coast Guard as a whole for years.  I’ll never forget the day he was standing forever peering at the boats through the fence at Solomon Jacobs Park until a new hero, Petty Officer Bowen, came over and invited him into the fenced in area for a tour.  Oh my, the smile!  Petty Officer Bowen later shared with me, that having grown up in Chatham, he used to spend hours doing the very same thing.  Kindred spirits, those two.  I’m not sure he’s aware of the little fire that was lit in Thatcher that day.  But I’m incredibly thankful for it.

As the love affair continued there would be more tours of the Coast Guard Station and vessels at Harbor Loop, a Coast Guard hat for his birthday, a Coast Guard shirt that reads, “Schrafft” and the year “2025”….as in the year Thatcher would be eligible for the academy, Coast Guard patches, and even a Coast Guard Halloween costume (loved that!).  And then….there was the tour of the Grand Isle.

The boys couldn’t even believe their good fortune.  They looked forward to the day for a couple of weeks….and then clammed up like crazy in the midst of all of the excitement….but, talked about it relentlessly for months afterwards. (Thanks, Cousin Rob!)  They were so little then….yet, so in love with that boat.

As a parent, you never really know what your children will become passionate about.  We have clocked hours sitting in the parking lot of the State Fish Pier just looking at the Grand Isle.  During winter months, the boys would sip their hot chocolate after hockey practice.  Summer months….there’d be smoothies.  On so many of those days, my dad would happen to call and get a good chuckle upon asking, “What are you guys up to?” only to find out that we were sitting looking at her ….again.

I wouldn’t trade a single one of those seconds that I spent wondering who thought I was stalking them as we sat in front of her bow. I was always keenly aware that surely there was someone up in the pilot house thinking, “Yikes. There’s that Jeep again.”  I was happiest when I could put the windows down so that the boys would be visible in the back seat.

So, Thank You, Grand Isle.  Thank you for helping me foster something wonderful in my boys.  Thank you for helping to spark their interest and for being the impetus for many valuable lessons.  I know at least two little boys who will miss seeing you sit proud and strong in our waters.

 

Coast Guard in #GloucesterMA in 1925 @USCGNortheast

Good morning, Joey,

Attached photo is one I’ve been searching for for three years and finally found it yesterday.

It was taken in 1923 at Coast Guard Base #7 in Gloucester.  It shows 9 of the then new 75’ Coast Guard Patrol Boats (and a couple smaller older boats.

Those boats were assigned along the coast to chase and interdict the rum-rummers during Prohibition.  Over 200 were built and assigned to CG stations on both coasts and later as Coast Guard and Navy patrol craft during WW-II.  Photo credit, Library of Commerce.

I’m currently working on a painting which shows Bill (the real ) McCoy’s rum-runners Arethusa, a/k/a Tomoka jogging on Rum-Row off the New York-New Jersey coast under the watchful eye of one of these, CG-153.  Hope you can use it.

Bill Hubbard

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FOB’s From SC

pete and pam beardes

Had a very nice visit yesterday at the gallery with Pete and Pam Beardes who had just arrived in Gloucester from Charleston, SC. Pete is an avid GMG FOB who was stationed here with the Coast Guard from 1986-88, during which time he painted the Annisquam Lightkeeper’s house (among other things). Enjoy your stay Pete and Pam, and come back soon!

The GDT Reports “Breaking: Gloucester police and Coast Guard to investigate death aboard F/V Osprey, arriving in Gloucester 3 p.m”

 

St Peter’s Fiesta – Fire. Police Dept. and Coast Guard Race

IMG_8882Mayor Carolyn Kirk, cheers on the her departments in the Seine Boat Race.

 

 

 

Gloucester Fire Department  – 2013 Champions

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Photos- The Schooner Adventures is having water tight bulkheads installed to meet Coast Guard specifications

Hi Joey,

The Schooner Adventures is having water tight bulkheads installed to meet Coast Guard specifications.

They started by using a fiberoptic system to look between the ceiling and the hull to find the best locations for the bulkheads…

They had to insert dowels into strategic spots where water could flow between the ceiling and bulkhead. Then the construction

began. It is a very time consuming process as there are ne straight lines for the boards to attach. The guys are custom fitting

each board to snuggly fit the curves of the vessel. They are not being nailed into place but rather are precisely measuring,

cutting, and chiseling.

Mary Barker