US Coast Guard Continues HF Weather Broadcasts

WASHINGTON – Last April the Coast Guard asked for public comment on the need to continue broadcasting high frequency (HF) high seas weather forecasts for single sideband voice, facsimile charts and text messages over radiotelex (e.g. HF NAVTEX). The Coast Guard required public comment because the infrastructure necessary to provide these services had exceeded its life expectancy and significant costs were involved to continue these services.

After reviewing and analyzing the substantial public response that overwhelmingly urged the continuation of these services, the Coast Guard’s “business case study” concluded that it was necessary to continue HF weather broadcasts. The business case study, “An Impact Assessment of Discontinuing USCG High-Frequency Radio Broadcasts of NWS Marine Weather Forecasts” is posted at: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/marcomms/high_frequency/HF-WX_notice.htm

The study concluded:

“The responding public collectively perceives that the USCG HF broadcasts are essential to their safety. There is no viable alternative to the USCG HF broadcasts because present alternatives are perceived by the public to be out of financial reach. Also, marine weather forecasts available through these alternative sources may not guarantee the same level of accuracy, timeliness, and/or sufficiency as provided by the USCG HF broadcasts.”

While the Coast Guard does not have funds necessary to replace all of its HF transmitters, funds are available to replace the 20 transmitters used for weather broadcasts.

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