Coast Guard begins ice breaking operations for bay of Green Bay

The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, a 240-foot heavy icebreaker.

Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw File Photo

MILWAUKEE — The Coast Guard has commenced ice breaking operations in the bay of Green Bay, Thursday, to ensure the safe navigation and overall safe transport of economically-significant commercial shipments.

Ice breaking efforts will continue periodically throughout the months of December 2017 and January 2018.

In support of the Port of Green Bay, the Coast Guard will establish and maintain tracks through the ice from Rock Island Passage to the Fox River. The tracks through the ice will extend to Marinette-Menominee, Sturgeon Bay and the port of Green Bay. There are two tanker transits destined for the Port of Green Bay planned for the month of December and three additional transits planned for the month of January.

Prior to each movement and any associated ice breaking, a 72-hour advance notice to the public will occur via broadcast notice to mariners on VHF-FM marine radio channel 16, 21 or 23, and public outreach.

Coast Guard waterway managers balance the needs of commercial operators moving the cargoes that fuel industry with those of recreational users enjoying the pristine natural beauty of the Great Lakes. Those who choose to recreate on or near ice-covered waterways may potentially put themselves at increased risk when recreating near still-operational shipping lanes.

These ice breaking operations are a part of Operation Taconite, the U.S. Coast Guard’s largest domestic ice-breaking operation. The operation encompasses Lake Superior, St. Marys River, the Straits of Mackinac, Georgian Bay and all of Lake Michigan, including the bay of Green Bay.

Members of the public who fish, operate a snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle or otherwise recreate on the bay of Green Bay during periods of ice cover should focus on this and future announcements to better inform their preparations.

The Coast Guard recommends all recreational ice users plan their activities carefully, dress appropriately, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels. Recreational users should stay tuned to local media resources for the status of regional waterway closures.

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