Coast Guard prepares for bay of Green Bay ice breaking operations

CG-ALDER in Duluth HarborMILWAUKEE — In January 2017 the U.S. Coast Guard will commence ice breaking operations in the bay of Green Bay to ensure the safe navigation and overall safe transport of economically-significant commercial shipments.

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 Escanaba, Marinette-Menominee, Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay.

“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 our Great Lakes,” said Capt. Amy Cocanour, commander of Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan. “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.”

There are two to three tanker transits destined for the Port of Green Bay planned for the month of December and two to three transits planned for the month of January. Depending on local need, there could be a transit or two in February. 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, as well as public outreach through media notification and social media outlets @USCGGreatLakes on Twitter and on Brown County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page.

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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