Boater's Comments Needed on Continuation of Loran System

Published online: Feb 02, 2007 News
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Loran users could soon be facing a closure of the land-based, low frequency radio system that has served mariners for decades.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), parent agency of the Coast Guard, zeroed out any funding for the continuation of Loran in its FY07 budget but Congress voted to put the money back in for one year. Now, the Coast Guard is requesting public comments on the issue until February 7, after which they will evaluate the future of the system.

Recreational boaters concerned about Loran's possible closure may submit comments by going to
http://dms.dot.gov, clicking on "comment/submissions" and using Coast Guard docket number USCG-2006-24685.

"With the GPS signal being relatively weak, there is concern that it is susceptible to jamming, which could present national security problems if it is the sole navigation system for the U.S.," said Elaine Dickinson of BoatU.S. Government Affairs. "Testing has shown Loran to be virtually jam-proof. There is a strong case to be made for keeping Loran as a relatively low-cost, ground-based backup to satellite-based GPS," she added.

"Shutting down Loran just doesn't make sense," said Dickinson, noting that the Coast Guard just spent $160 million to modernize and largely automate the Loran system. There are thousands of mariners, in addition to aircraft pilots, who still use Loran receivers.

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