Contact: Dave Pilvelait of BOAT/U.S.
Federal budget cuts and growing use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) may
sink LORAN-C, the government-run radionavigational system used by an estimated
800,000 civilian boat and aircraft owners, possibly as early as 1998, according
to BOAT/U.S. (Boat Owners Association of The United States).
The popular system provides accurate positioning signals to receivers on boats
and airplanes throughout the contiguous 48 states and Alaska. The receivers
translate land-based radio signals into latitude and longitude coordinates used
for safe navigation.
Federal plans since the 1980s have called for LORAN to remain in service until
2015. But budget constraints on the Coast Guard, coupled with the emergence of
GPS, a constellation of 24 satellites orbiting the Earth that provide
navigation signals worldwide, could hasten the end of LORAN service.
"Over 90,000 consumers purchased LORAN receivers last year alone and with
nearly a million navigators depending on the service, it hardly seems fair to
pull the plug with only a few years notice," said Michael Sciulla, BOAT/U.S.
Vice President of Government Affairs.
The decision on LORAN's future could be made soon and will depend on public
response. The Department of Transportation, parent agency of the Coast Guard,
is currently soliciting comments on th eoperational and economic impact of
early LORAN phase-out. Boaters are urged to send their comments to Secretary
Federico F. Pena, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 7th Street SW,
Washington, DC 20590.
With nearly 500,000 members, BOAT/U.S. is the nation's largest organization of