Coast Guard concludes ice-breaking season in western Great Lakes

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND — The 9th Coast Guard District concluded Operation Taconite, its ice-breaking operation in the western Great Lakes, Friday, officially bringing the 2011-12 icebreaking season to a close.

Under control of Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Operation Taconite is carried out in Lake Superior, the St. Mary’s River, the Straits of Mackinac, and northern Lake Huron.

Operation Taconite began Dec. 21, 2011. Working together during this year’s ice-breaking season were crews aboard: U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Mackinaw; Alder; Hollyhock; Mobile Bay; Neah Bay; Katmai Bay; Biscayne Bay; and Thunder Bay, temporarily assigned to the Great Lakes from its homeport of Rockland, Maine.

Together these eight cutters spent 1,668 hours breaking ice and assisted more than 60 vessels.

Although ice has melted from the waterways and air temperatures may be mild, water temperatures are still extremely cold and can cause hypothermia and death within a matter of minutes. Recreational water users are advised to dress for the water temperature and not the air, and to consider these factors before venturing out onto the water.

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