This excerpt from NOAA Chart 13309 shows the lighted bell buoy EG, located near the western entrances to Eggemoggin Reach and busy Bucks Harbor, which the Coast Guard wants to remove permanently. IMAGE COURTESY OF NOAA

Coast Guard buoy plan raises concern



BLUE HILL — Proposals by the U.S. Coast Guard to remove a lighted bell buoy from the western entrance to Eggemoggin Reach and another that marks a narrow channel in upper Blue Hill Bay have raised alarms among area sailors.

In the local notice to mariners published Feb. 22, the service asked for comments on its plans to “disestablish,” or remove, the lighted bell buoy FI that marks the southern end of the Flye Island Channel off Brooklin in Blue Hill Bay and a similar buoy, EG, that marks the western entrance of the heavily traveled Eggemoggin Reach and the main entrance to Bucks Harbor, home to a busy yacht club and a popular destination for summer cruisers.

Reactions to the two proposals were swift and almost uniformly negative.

“That bell is just critical,” said John Zoller, commodore of the Castine Yacht Club, on Monday about the buoy at the entrance to the reach.

Brooksville Harbormaster Sarah Cox said last week that news of the Coast Guard’s plans was being “widely distributed to yacht clubs, towns, HMs (harbormasters), boatyards and individual boaters” along Eggemoggin Reach and that the Brooksville Harbor Committee would consider the issue at its next meeting.

“All the comments I’ve heard to date are negative,” Cox said.

Sally deGozzaldi, commodore of the Bucks Harbor Yacht Club, said she planned to send an email to the Coast Guard explaining why the buoy should be left in place.

“The EG bell is a critical navigational aid for all of the small recreational boats operating to and from” the yacht club, deGozzaldi said in an email on Monday. One of only a few lighted buoys in the area, “it is crucial for boats coming into the harbor after dark.” The buoy also is used by boats headed toward Penobscot Bay to keep clear of the dangerous Thrumcap Ledge.

The lighted FI bell buoy lies off Green Island along the western shore of Blue Hill Bay, north of Naskeag Point, and marks a narrow, ledge-strewn channel that runs outside Flye Point and is used both by recreational boaters and fishermen based in at South Blue Hill and Blue Hill.

Harbormaster Dennis Robertson said Monday that he is against the buoy’s removal.

“I would be horrified if they did that,” he said. “It’s one more beacon for safety if you’re coming in a snowstorm or a big wind and trying to tuck in under a lee shore.”

The Coast Guard has asked the public to comment on the two proposals. Comments should be sent by email to [email protected] before April 13.

Comments relating to the FI buoy in Blue Hill Bay should refer to Project No. 01-18-009. Comments relating to the EG buoy should refer to Project No. 01-18-010.

 

Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. [email protected]

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