An offshore bell buoy is the latest and largest donation to the Rockland Coast Guard Base Museum.
Base Commander Robert Morong said the bell probably served at least four decades at points between Cape Cod and Canada, alerting ships 50 to 60 miles out at sea, before it was hauled ashore, refinished and delivered to Rockland from Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
On the waterfront in Rockland, Maine, on the harbor side of the new Maine Lighthouse Museum, is a bell buoy that was once one of the traffic lights of the ocean.
My son, CWO Robert E. Morong, was the commander of the Rockland Coast Guard Station when the original museum was located there and known at that time as the First District Marine Exhibit.
My son had previously been stationed at Southwest Harbor, Maine, before he took command of the Rockland Coast Station on August 31, 1973, relieving CWO Ken Black who was retiring. I recall that my son loved having people visit the exhibit.
Shown here is the picture that appeared in the local newspaper during his stint as commander at the station. The photo had the following caption – “An offshore bell buoy is the latest and largest donation to the Rockland Coast Guard Base Museum. Base Commander Robert Morong said the bell probably served at least four decades at points between Cape Cod and Canada, alerting ships 50 to 60 miles out at sea, before it was hauled ashore, refinished and delivered to Rockland from Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The bottom 20 feet of the buoy, a counterweight, was removed to allow the bell to stand upright.”
CWO Morong remained at Rockland until April of 1977 when he was transferred to a Newcastle (Portsmouth), NH station where he was the commander. He retired from there on July 27, 1979.
Robert enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1956 and was stationed at two places where his father Clifton Morong had served, the Popham Beach Station on the Kennebec River and Cape Elizabeth stations in Maine. He also saw duty on the weather ship Cook Inlet, cutter Acushnet, cutter Schackle and the Nantucket Lightship. Following his retirement, he and his family settled in their home in Bath, Maine, where he died on August 18, 1995.
This story appeared in the
October 2005 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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