Coast Guard icebreaking season kicks off on Hudson River

NEW YORK – The Coast Guard has commenced icebreaking operations on the Hudson River as temperatures continue to fall and waters begin to freeze.

A fleet of five cutters will help maintain waterways open to commercial vessel traffic in the port of New York/New Jersey to Albany from now until the middle of March, which is vital for upper New York’s residents and the area’s economy.

“An average of 300 vessels transit the Hudson River during the winter months, carrying over 5 million barrels of petroleum products to the communities of this northern region,” said Lt. Cmdr. Edward Munoz, Coast Guard Sector New York’s Chief of the Waterways Management Division for the New York region. “This includes home heating oil, which impacts hundreds of thousands of people in our area.”

The Coast Guard maintains a presence on the river during icebreaking season, which typically runs from Dec. 15 until the end of March, despite fluctuations in the amount of ice that actually occurs.

“The Coast Guard’s domestic icebreaking operations are intended to minimize waterways closures during the winter while enabling commercial vessels to transit through ice-covered critical channels,” Munoz said. “In addition to our icebreakers, the Coast Guard Auxiliary conducts daily reconnaissance flights, providing updated information about ice conditions which is then transmitted to waterway users.”

While the Coast Guard icebreakers free ships locked in ice and create a navigable route to travel upon, they also retain capabilities to shift to the many other Coast Guard missions, such as search and rescue, law enforcement and homeland security.

For ice reports and other information, visit: http://homeport.uscg.mil/newyork

Information can be found under the Waterways Management portion of Coast Guard Sector New York’s homepage.

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