The Canadian Coast Guard wants commentary on the Cape Mudge Foghorn, but won’t return to the classic long, deep sound of yesteryear.
The main reason is that this classic foghorn sound actually requires a machine the size of a building. The Coast Guard switched to a cheaper electronic horn in the late 1990s. However, as part of their five-year cyclical review of aids to navigation along the coast, they are keen to hear the views of locals on the matter. .
âThe old diaphone air horn had this faint sound. The technology is such that we went to switch to the electronic horn. They are set when visibility is less than two nautical miles and they activate automatically, âsaid Glenna Evans, regional superintendent of the Aids to Navigation and Waterways program. “We’ve heard that some people would like us to go back to the old horns, but unfortunately that’s not a feasible option for us.”
The sound of the fog horns must meet certain parameters to cut through the fog surrounding the island. Evans said fog can even reflect sound backwards, so lower frequencies are preferred.
âThe sound patterns vary with different horns, but they generally use low frequencies to make the sound travel farther,â she said.
Foghorns – of which there are three in the area: Cape Mudge, Chatham Point and Pulteney Point near Port McNeill – are just part of the ongoing review. Evans said they would also be looking at other aids to navigation on the coast.
âWe continually strive to ensure that aids to navigation meet the needs of our mariners and promote the safe and efficient movement of vessels,â she said. âThat’s why we do cyclical reviews, we look at traffic patterns and vessel sizes, the number of vessels passing through certain areas. This will play into our analysis of where, when and what we provide to users. “
Other aids to navigation include buoys and beacons.
Although these reviews take place on a five-year cycle, Evans said the Coast Guard also conducts ad hoc reviews if there are marine incidents or changes in conditions in a certain area.
âOur top priorities are definitely the safety of life at sea, the protection of the marine environment and the efficient movement of maritime traffic in our waters. The provision of aids to navigation is just one of the tools that aids in the safe and efficient movement of traffic in our waters that is external to ships, âsaid Evans.
Those interested in providing comments can email Evans at [email protected]
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