Coast Guard sets ice condition 1 in southern Chesapeake Bay and lower Potomac River

5th Coast Guard District NewsBALTIMORE — The Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region Captain of the Port (COTP) has reverted to ice condition one for the Chesapeake Channel between Cove Point and Smith Point and the lower Potomac River safety zone Monday, and cautions mariners to be aware of ice formation on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Ice condition one is set when weather conditions are favorable for the formation of ice in navigable waters.

Within the Sector Maryland-NCR COTP zone, navigable waters typically affected by early ice formation include the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, upper Chesapeake Bay and upper Potomac River.

All masters, ship agents, and owners and operators of all vessels, marine facilities and marinas are encouraged to report observed ice conditions to the Sector Maryland-NCR command center at 410-576-2693 or

Additionally, mariners should review and prepare for the seasonal ice procedures below:

  • When ice is present and navigational restrictions are imposed by the COTP, vessels must have the proper hull type and an adequate propulsion system meeting the minimum horsepower requirements to be able to maneuver unassisted through the ice without needing to stop, back off and ram the ice.
  • When ice is present in the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, navigational restrictions will be coordinated with COTP Delaware Bay and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Canal Project based on the shared jurisdiction of the waterway.
  • Vessel moorings should be checked frequently to ensure the vessel is secured.
  • Vessels at anchor should maintain their engines on standby at all times.
  • Vessels at anchor should ensure proper bridge watches are stood at all times.
  • Vessel sea chests should be checked regularly for ice buildup and precautions should be taken to ensure the sea chests are kept clear.

The Sector Maryland-NCR COTP may establish additional requirements for specific geographical areas of the COTP zone if conditions warrant such restrictions.

Ice related vessel and/or waterway restrictions continue to be advertised announced via Coast Guard broadcast notices to mariners, five times daily at 3 a.m., 7:05 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. local time on marine band radio VHF-FM channel 22A.

The status for local waterways can also be found at or by calling the Sector Maryland-NCR ice line at 410-576-2682.

The status and extent of these restrictions are continuously evaluated, as ice condition reports are received and assessed.

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