Coast Guard urges mariners to purchase GPS before termination of Long Range Aids to Navigation signal

BOSTON — The Coast Guard is urging mariners currently using United States Long Range Aids to Navigation (Loran-C), to ensure they have a GPS navigation system aboard their vessels and become familiar with it prior to Monday, Feb. 8, 2010, when the Coast Guard will cease transmission of the Loran-C signal.

Once the signal transmission is terminated, mariners will not be able to rely on the Loran-C stations, including those in Caribou, Maine, and Nantucket, Mass., for navigation.

As a result of technological advancements during the last 20 years and the emergence of the U.S. Global Positioning System, Loran-C is no longer required by the armed forces, the transportation sector or the nation's security interests, continued funding is no longer a prudent use of taxpayer money.

The Canadian-American Loran Chain is bound by a bilateral agreement, and will continue to transmit for a longer period. It is currently estimated that this signal will cease transmission in June of 2010.

The Loran-C system was not established as, nor was it intended to be, a viable systemic backup for GPS. If a single, domestic national system to back up GPS is identified as being necessary, the Department of Homeland Security will complete an analysis of potential backups to GPS. The continued active operation of the 52-year old Loran-C system is not necessary to advance this evaluation.

President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2010 budget supported the termination of outdated systems and specifically cited the terrestrial-based North American Loran-C system as such an example. The president did not seek funding for the Loran-C system in fiscal year 2010. Termination was also directed through the enactment of the 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.

The notice may be viewed online at www.regulations.gov, docket number: USCG-2009-0299. For more information on terminations, reductions and savings contained in the fiscal year 2010 budget, including Loran-C, visit www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/TRS/.

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