In response to a federal budget proposal that would close Coast Guard helicopter stations based in Waukegan, Ill., and Muskegon, Mich., the Great Lakes Boating Federation is urging recreational boaters in Michigan and the region to contact their local congressman to voice strong opposition to the cuts.
Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. - himself the survivor of a boating accident because of a Coast Guard response - recently spoke out against the proposal and noted that helicopters at the Waukegan station directly contributed to saving the lives of 16 boaters from 2004-2009.
In another case of local mariners affected by federal budget directives, the official silencing of a West Coast tower used for the Loran navigation system prompted reaction from mariners.
Until February, precisely timed navigational signals were emitted by a 625-foot tower in Middletown, Calif. Now the revolutionary long-range navigation system, developed in 1941 for military uses, has become a dinosaur.
As a result, the Department of Homeland Security is dismantling the 24-station Loran system, including Middletown, a move expected to save $37 million this year.