Hard Hat Voyaged Across Ocean, Washed Up on Shore 3,000 Miles Away

Though some are lucky enough to come across a message in a bottle that made a lengthy journey, one man found a Maine Department of Transportation hard hat in Norway—the country, not the town located in Maine.

A Facebook post published by the Maine Department of Transportation pointed out that the hard hat traveled about 3,300 miles from the department's headquarters before it was picked up by Sigbjørn Eide. The agency is not asking for the hard hat to be returned after its long trek along the Gulf Stream currents, and it considers it part of a "friendly international exchange."

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NOAA SciJinks explained that the Gulf Stream is a strong ocean current. Warm water is brought up from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean, and it extends up the eastern coast of the United States and Canada.

Damian Veilleux, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Transportation, told Newsweek that Eide reached out to the agency via Facebook after he found the hard hat laying in a bed of seaweed.

According to a statement sent to Newsweek from the Maine Department of Transportation, Eide was walking by the shore in a fjord one cold and snowy morning. He initially thought the hard hat may have belonged to someone nearby but saw the American flag on it.

The statement noted that it takes more than a year for items to float the approximate 3,300-mile distance from Maine to Norway along the Gulf Stream.

"The ocean is constantly in motion, moving water from place to place via currents," NOAA SciJinks reported. "The Gulf Stream brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexica all the way up to the Norwegian Sea. As the warm water comes in, colder, denser water sinks and begins moving south—eventually flowing along the bottom of the ocean wall the way to Antarctica."

"While the MaineDOT cannot ascertain exactly where this particular hard hat came from, we are glad that it washed ashore safely," the statement read. "The oceans are home to an increasing amount of human-made plastics which endanger ocean life and ecosystems."

Hard Hat
A man came across a hard hat from Maine that washed up onto a Norwegian shore. The hat is thought to have traveled the 3,300-mile trip along the Gulf Stream. ayzek/iStock

Veilleux said while it is unclear when the hard hat set out on its long trip, he said dates are printed on the hats when they are manufactured. This hat in particular was made in August 2016.

Employees with the Maine Department of Transportation are expected to wear hard hats whenever they are in an active construction site.

"And, for those Mainer's who insist the hard hat ended up in Norway after tumbling through a Maine road pothole, we can assure you, that's not the case," the statement read.

Newsweek reached out to Sigbjørn Eide for comment.