Coast Guard to break ice on the Kennebec River

Coast Guard Cutter Bridle file photo by Chief Petty Officer Marc Moore)

Coast Guard Cutter Bridle file photo by Chief Petty Officer Marc Moore

PORTLAND, Maine — Crews from Coast Guard Sector Northern New England are scheduled to conduct ice breaking operations in the main channel of the Kennebec River from Merrymeeting Bay to Gardiner, Maine, beginning Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020.

The purpose of this operation is to reduce the risk of flooding as snow and river ice begin to melt and flow out to sea.

Sector Northern New England will manage the operation, known as the Kennebec River Spring Break-out, in close partnership with Maine Emergency Management Agency, National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Maine Department of Transportation, and Maine Marine Patrol.


These agencies have been meeting weekly to assess the risk of flooding along the Kennebec River.

“The Coast Guard always stands ready to help the citizens of Maine,” said Chief Warrant Officer Kevin Morgan, Ice Mission Manager for Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “We are the only agency in Maine equipped with icebreakers and we’re proud to lead this effort that protects citizens and resources along the Kennebec.”

Coast Guard cutters Shackle, Bridle, and Tackle, all 65-foot ice-breaking tugs homeported across Maine, will participate in the multi-day operation.

As Coast Guard units prepare for ice breaking operations on the Kennebec River, the public should remove their ice fishing shacks as soon as possible, if safe to do so, and should refrain from being on the river during ice breaking operations.

Coast Guard ice breaking operations will be visible from the shoreline and bridges that span the Kennebec River.

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