Harken Derm

Fog horn shifts to on-demand signal

Published on April 25th, 2019

When the fog rolls in and visibility vanishes, it is the sound of the fog horn that calms nerves while navigating back to a harbor. But a shift is occurring wherein the mariner must activate the sound signal as detailed in this report from the United States Coast Guard concerning Bandon, Oregon.


The Coast Guard is planning to change the fog sound signal at Coquille River South Jetty Light 8 from a continuously sounding signal to an on-demand signal.

The fog sound signal, an aid to navigation to warn mariners of the location of the southern jetty during periods of reduced visibility, is used by mariners transiting across the Coquille River entrance bar and channel to and from Bandon.

The signal will be activated by keying the microphone of a VHF-FM radio five times. The signal will activate and run for approximately 30 minutes and then secure itself. There is no limit to the number of times the signal can be activated.

The tone, characteristic and intensity of the sound signal will remain the same as currently configured. This system, called a Marine Radio Activated Sound Signal, is in use at all of the other year-round fog sound signal sites within the states of Oregon and Washington.

As this signal is operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year there is significant wear and tear upon the equipment. In the last 10 years, the equipment has broken down seven times, requiring an additional four visits to the site by the servicing aids to navigation team to conduct repairs, including the complete replacement in 2016.

Changing to a signal that operates at the call of the mariner will significantly reduce operations and subsequent wear to the horn and electronics.

A Broadcast Notice to Mariners will be issued upon the completion of the change, and it will be published in Local Notice to Mariners. Mariners are encouraged to provide comments on this change and the performance and operation of this aid to navigation.

All comments should be sent to the email address D13-PF-LNM@uscg.mil. Any discrepancy for this or other aids to navigation should continue to be reported to Coast Guard Sector North Bend.

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