The Maine Lighthouse Trust has announced it is in the final phase of securing the mandated 2,000 pre-purchased lighthouse license plates needed to advance to the legislature for final approval. FILE PHOTO

BIDDEFORD — After receiving approval from the Maine Secretary of State to launch a campaign for Maine’s first lighthouse specialty license plate, the Maine Lighthouse Trust has announced it is in the final phase of securing the mandated 2,000 pre-purchased lighthouse license plates needed to advance to the legislature for final approval.

The non-profit group hopes to secure the final pre-purchased plates before the end of the year and the start of the next legislative session in January.

“We’ve had a great response to the new lighthouse license plate,”  said Maine Lighthouse Trust founder Sean P. Murphy of Biddeford. “Support has come from all over Maine.”

He said the group is on record pace to make the lighthouse license plate Maine’s next specialty license plate.

According to Murphy, the initial cost of the lighthouse specialty license plate is $25 and the annual renewal cost is $15. He said that the Maine Lighthouse Trust will receive $10 from the initial purchase and $10 per annual renewal.

The lighthouse trust will then distribute the accrued funds in the form of grants to statewide lighthouse organizations for the ongoing preservation, restoration and education and awareness of Maine’s historic sentinels.

“The time has come for Maine’s most iconic image to be represented on our resident’s license plates,” Murphy said.  “When people hear this idea they can’t believe we don’t already have a lighthouse plate.”

He said that residents will be proud to display the new plates knowing they will be championing the mission to save and preserve Maine’s rich nautical heritage.”

It is estimated the lighthouse plate will raise in excess of $200,000 per year for Maine’s lighthouse community.

With more coastal lighthouses than anywhere else in the nation, Maine is often referred to as “The Lighthouse State.” Starting in 1791, lighthouses were built along Maine’s shoreline to help navigate mariners through dangerous waters and the state’s many small islands, ledges and shoals.

By the turn of the 20th century, at least 70 lighthouses guarded Maine’s seacoast, river channels and even one lake.

In 2018, 66 lighthouses still stand sentry over the Maine coast. But over the decades, Maine’s iconic lighthouses have come to be more than simply navigational aids. The historic structures that house the lights have become a cherished reminder of the hardihood, romance and adventure of Maine’s maritime history.

The lighthouse specialty plates can be purchased online at www.MaineLighthouseTrust.org or through various local lighthouse groups.

The Maine Lighthouse Trust is a non-profit dedicated to the preservation, restoration and education/awareness of Maine’s iconic lighthouse.

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 or by email at [email protected] 

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