Ships heading north, up the Kennebec River for Bath, must negotiate a difficult, potentially treacherous "S" turn through Fiddlers Reach. The course is made doubly difficult by night or poor visibility. The range lights allow skippers to make the difficult turn with safety and confidence.
Once they pass little Ram Island (1) in the center of the river, some two miles before the turn, ships line up the two range lights (2), the rear light elevated 15 feet above the front light. The front light flashes continously, while the rear light shows six quick flashes and an interval. It is a simple device that functions with elegance as it has for over a century.
As the ships reach the widening bay just before the turn to the West, they catch sight, upriver, of the Doubling Point Light(3), one mile up Fiddler's Reach. At this point they initiate their turn. Keeping the Doubling Point Light safely to starboard, they emerge into Broad Reach, where they turn to the North, toward the huge Bath Iron Works (4) on the western bank.
Approaching the Turn