(Fog) Horns

Have had a couple recent days when I could use some sort of signaling device a bit more authoritative than a pea whistle. Anyone have any experience with these? All claim 120 decibels.

  1. Taylor Eco-Blast, like a regular handheld air-horn but is infinitely refillable from a bicycle pump:


  2. A couple of mouth-operated fog-horns:



    Appreciate any advice!

I have the Stow Master
which is about $8 from West Marine. It is a tiny mouth operated horn that fits nicely into a pdf pocket. Makes a very loud foghorn noise. Looks similar to the Orion but may be a bit smaller.

stow master
I second the Stow Master. BUT there are at least two models out there. The original one which had an uncovered neoprene drum and then the second version which has a plastic cover over the neo drum. That is the one to get as you don’t need to protect the drum as much in a day hatch.


Thanks for both recommendations! Am planning to visit West Marine tonight anyway, so will look for that.

Is the drum-cover you mention on the bottom of the unit? As you said, I found photos of two versions, and it seems the one West Marine shows has some sort of black cover on the bottom:





“Its a JOKE son, a JOKE!”

I have the bicycle handlebar mount version, I love it. Real truck air horn sound that will cut through any ipod earphones, or wake the dead. I’ve drowned the horn in a rain, so it gurgled and blew out the water and it continues to work just fine. I don’t think I’ve heard the horn from WM, but I imagine, being lung powered, it is not so loud as this one. And, I wonder if being cold and tired just how loud, or often you can blow it. I base this on hearing people say they were too cold to blow up paddle floats.

The Eco-Blast claims about 80 blasts, if I remember right, and does fill to 80 psi with the pint bottle. It is a standard bottle cap size that you can get with soft drinks or bottle water and change the bottle to a larger size, if you don’t think 80 toots is enough. It will require weekly checking of the pressure, another item to add to the pre-launch checklist. And, if it runs out on the water, you have nothing at all except a plastic bottle to throw at the offender.

We did a whistle ‘blow off’ last bight. Mine was the only one the was worth a toot. I do mean whistle, not the horn. I think it is called the storm whistle, i can check next week, if anyone cares. It was expensive, as whistles go, but very much louder than any of other others. I think this may carry better than either the ecoblast or the mouth horn.

Can you say, “Geezer?” nm

Stowmaster - not recommended
I heard a stowmaster demonstrated and it is very loud. I carried one with me at the start of my Newfoundland circumnavigation – where heavy fog is an almost daily part of life. Unfortunately I found that when the diaphram of the horn gets wet (from simply a wave washing over the deck), the horn does not function at all. At one point a boat was close and I couldn’t get the horn to operate. I ended up throwing it away.

Greg Stamer

If I were on the water and watching someone paddling a kayak and I heard a foghorn, I would look all around in puzzlement to see where that sound came from, since it’s just me and that kayaker over there.

Storm whistle



Second the whistle…but…
I have the whistle on a lanyard rolled and stowed in a pocket on my PFD, but I ALSO have an air horn (Compressed gas)…

I firmly believe in the rule two is one, one is NONE.

for every critical piece of gear you need, there MUST be a backup…

backups are good
I was using the small airhorns sold for jetskis when I was teachng classes because a whistle just didn’t get the same attention when we were surrounded by lots of pleasure boats. But they ended up being pricey expense if used often and the plastic horn broke off too easily during rescues. It would be worth keeping in a deck bag or underdeck bag.

I use the Orion
and it is quite loud—also it is all one piece, not two piece like some other makes(had one two piece fall apart on me once—it is at the bottom of Frenchmens Bay --if you find it its yours.

black cover = neoprene
The Stowmaster’s with the black cover are the ones without the neo covered. Look for the ones that look all orange and have the black underneath the orange cover. There are little holes all around the sides.

I read Greg’s post below about the Stowmaster not being very good. BUT, it is a really simple thing to simply tip out the water in the Stowmaster and THEN blow the horn. The first blow might not be as loud as a drier blow but it gets louder as the water gets blown out.

Just used the Stowmaster last week as a small group of us went out the mouth of the Merrimac to play in the incoming swell and surf the sand bar further south. One of the group didn’t have a whistle on her pfd so I gave her mine and put my Stowmaster on my PFD.

Really all you have to do is tip out the water and it works again.


Sounds like there are a few options, and that they all rely on being relatively dry, or at least blasting any water out of them first, even the compressed-air-powered ones.

Will have to see what’s available locally.



storm whistle
Bought these years ago when my kids used to skate around the neighborhood and out of our sight, for safety from strangers or if they got hurt.

They definitely live up to their claims… you can hear them for blocks and they have a distictive sound.

Of course, now that I’m kayaking I can’t find any of the ones I bought the kids.

I think I purchased them from Wal mart.

clearning horn

Perhaps I had a defective horn. It worked very well when dry, but once wet it would take 5 minutes or more to get it operational again – tipping the water out, tapping it against the deck, and then blowing into it. For many minutes only a faint “wheeze” would emanate. All of this would have to be repeated if a single wave washed over it – making mine useless for emergency use. I was in one situation in heavy fog where a boat was nearby and blowing his fog horn and I was working on the horn for minutes getting it to clear. Very frustrating. I’d advise people to dunk their horn and see if it"clears" easily, and if not, to return it.

Greg Stamer


– Last Updated: Aug-01-08 12:23 PM EST –

I wonder if the "Stowmaster" is not really intended for overly-wet kayaks.