Once the mainstay for navigating on large bodies of water (like Lake Erie,) the "long range aid to navigation" - or LORAN-C - may be terminated as early as January 4.
The process - if the Secretary of Homeland Security certifies that existing infrastructure is not needed as a GPS backup - could take months to complete. The Coast Guard's commandant has all ready certified that LORAN-C is not needed for maritime safety.
Zachariah Conover, president and CEO of Windham, MA.-based CrossRate Technology, LLC, says there is "a mountain of evidence" that suggests that enhanced eLORAN-C should become the long-term backup for GPS and that the Homeland Security Department head is weighing this evidence.
First employed during World War II, LORAN-C was the only reliable electronic navigation system for several decades. But it began its decent due to the almost universal switch to the satellite-driven Global Positioning System (GPS).
It is unclear, the Ohio Division of Watercraft Division notes, how other nations who operate their own LORAN-C systems will react should the U.S. moth-ball its system.
For CrossRate Technology's take on the subject, visit the firm's web site at www.crossrate.com.
In other Watercraft Division news, the agency will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2010. At the same time it is looking for new watercraft officers.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn