Ashtabula, Ohio's Coast Guard station could be transitioned into seasonal service as soon as this October, as part of a plan to streamline Coast Guard services in the Great Lakes.
Station Erie would not be affected by the change, said Chief Petty Officer Lauren Jorgensen, public affairs specialist for the Coast Guard's ninth district.
The ninth district comprises all Great Lakes stations, including Erie and Ashtabula.
Jorgensen said the plan to "seasonalize" stations, which would include eight stations across the Great Lakes, is nearing final approval and would go into effect at the end of this boating season.
If the plan is approved, any offseason calls to Station Ashtabula will be picked up by the Coast Guard station at Fairport Harbor in Grand River, Ohio. That station would also take in the Ashtabula station's crew during the offseason.
Greg Gorny, rear commodore at the Erie Yacht Club, said heading down Lake Erie in the direction of Ashtabula is a common trip for local boaters.
"It's probably a nice one-day jaunt from Erie to Ashtabula if you're sailing," Gorny said. Ashtabula is also on the way to popular destinations, including Cleveland and Put-in-Bay, Ohio, he said.
Gorny said the chances of Erie boaters being affected by Ashtabula closing offseason are "fairly slim."
Jorgensen said the Ashtabula station rarely has to respond to emergency calls in the offseason, and that the usual response to such calls is sending in a helicopter from Air Station Detroit. That will not change if the Ashtabula station is closed in the offseason.
"As our technology and capabilities have enhanced, we've found that there are a lot of redundancies and overlaps in coverage," Jorgensen said.
The plan to seasonalize stations along the Great Lakes would allow the Coast Guard to "better allocate our people and our assets to provide superior service," she said.