A Buoy That Whistles

I would put this week's Sepia Saturday prompt in the category of unusual gadgets. Here we have a postcard of something very unusual. It's a whistling buoy  This particular buoy guards the infamous and treacherous mouth of the Merrimack River in Massachusetts.
It's a buoy used in the same catagory as a bell buoy. It can be heard as well as seen. The buoy can be used navigating the channel at night or more usefully, when the weather is foggy.

It actually does whistle albeit a long low droning voice. Below the water line which can't be seen in this photo is a 10 foot long wide pipe heading straight downward. As the buoy moves up and down in the swells the water inside this pipe also moves up and down causing the column of air to change pressure and thus "blows" through the whistle at the top.

This buoy was always known as the "whistler," and locals know that if they can hear the whistler from their homes, which are sometimes a couple miles from the coast, that the ocean was too rough to go out fishing for the day. The east wind brings the sound inland and brings in rough seas.


Alex Daw said…
Wow! There's something I did not know. I didn't know that there were vending machines that lit your cigarettes for you either.
Sharon said…
I have never heard of a musical buoy. Not sure if it would be lovely or annoying to live nearby.
diane b said…
I haven't seen heard any of those buoys. Like Sharon I wouldn't want to live close enough to have to listen to them all day.
Postcardy said…
Interesting. I never knew about those types of buoys.
Mr. Charleston said…
What a brilliant idea. I wonder if the whistle also scares the birds away.

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