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How tall are the Coast Guard LORAN towers at the south end of River Road?

Ken Little

Source: New Hanover County Tax Dept. Staff art.

Q1. How tall are the Coast Guard LORAN towers at the south end of River Road? And why have the navigation warning lights on them suddenly been turned off?

A. The four LORAN towers at Loran Station Carolina Beach are each 625 feet in height, said Lt. Michael Patterson, an external affairs officer with the U.S. Coast Guard 5th District.

It was reported on May 24 that a power outage had caused the lights to fail, Patterson said.

The lights were back on as of Tuesday, June 5, Patterson said.

LORAN is an acronym for Long Range Navigation. The obsolete LORAN-C system was “discontinued” by the Coast Guard, Patterson said.

The Coast Guard still has a 210-acre tract between Carolina Beach Road and River Road dominated by the four towers.

Patterson had no information on what the government plans to do with the “static” site.

“The towers do not provide any navigational guidance. The (lights) are back on,” Patterson said. “Regardless of whether they’re operational, they still need aircraft warning lights on there.”

Washington-based Coast Guard Lt. J. Philip Balem said that because the towers are 628 feet in height, the Coast Guard is obligated to provide navigational lights per FAA requirements. The LORAN system was discontinued in the area that includes the Carolina Beach installation in February 2010, Balem said.

The Carolina Beach LORAN site is one of 24 on the U.S. mainland and in Alaska.


The LORAN system is turned off, but the Coast Guard is holding onto the property, Ashley Withers reports in December 2012:

U.S. Coast Guard to hold onto River Road property


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User-contributed question by:
eric hendrickson

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