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Group Ohio Valley

The Coast Guard traces its history in the Ohio Valley back to March of 1881, when a lifeboat station was established in Louisville at the Falls of the Ohio. Group Ohio Valley was established in Louisville in October, 1988 as a result of the reorganization and consolidation of Group Tennessee River, once located at Buchanan, Tennessee, and Group Ohio River located at Owensboro, Kentucky.

Group Ohio Valley provides command, control communications and support to six cutters which service 5500 aids to navigation on over 2900 miles of navigable rivers in a ten state area. The waterways include the Ohio, Tenessee and Cumberland rivers as well as a porton of the Mississippi. This accounts for approxmately 10 percent of the entire Coast Guard AtoN responsibility and roughly 50 percent of the the Coast Guards 8th Districts AtoN responsibility. The Group has five Shoreside Support Detachments (SSD's) which maintain each River Tender's mooring facility and provide logistical support to the cutter.

The Group staff provides administrative and engineering support to it's outlying units, including one Loran-C station and operates an Operations Center and Vessel Traffic Service. Through a system of 30 remote high level communications sites and with the help of numerous other federal, state a nd local agencies the Group coordinates response to over 500 search and rescue, marine pollution and towing vessel incidents each year. During periods of high water the Group activates VTS Louisville which guides mariners through the treacherous waters near the Falls of the Ohio. When the pool water rises to 13' above zero elevation on the upper pool of the McApline Lock & Dam (located in Louisville) VTS is activated for a 13 mile stretch of the river passing through Metro Louisville. Contrary currents and the effects of the Falls of the Ohio make it extremely dangerous for more than one vessel to operate in the approaches to the McAlping Lock. The VTS is operated as a part time "On Demand" service, and is manned by both Active and Reserve duty personnel. On average it is in operation 45 days each year, but has been in operation for as long as 106 days. Periods of high water can be expected anywhere from the middle of the fall to the end of spring. VTS has rarely been activated during the summer months.

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