A day beacon (or daybeacon) is defined simply as an unlighted nautical sea mark, serving to aid navigation during the day. The U.S. Coast Guard maintains many modern day beacons around the country, but the subject of this episode is the historic day beacons of New England. Some of them date back more than 200 years, and they have fascinating stories to tell — tales of shipwrecks, pirates, and more. Joining host Jeremy D’Entremont is Bob Trapani Jr., who is the executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation and a lighthouse technician, as well as an aficionado of all kinds of aids to navigation.
Among the Maine daybeacons discussed are the stone marker at Fiddlers Ledge near North Haven; the tripod marker at Shag Rock near Owls Head (destroyed in a recent storm); and the Stage Island Monument near Biddeford Pool. Several Massachusetts beacons are also discussed, including the well known conical marker at Nix’s Mate in Boston Harbor; the familiar pyramidal marker known as Ben Butler’s Toothpick in Salisbury; and the (recently collapsed) Bowditch Ledge Beacon near Salem.