Coast Guard units keeping up with ice conditions in Northeast

Northeast Atlantic Coast Guard News
BOSTON – The 2013 icebreaking continues for Coast Guard units throughout the Northeast.

Coast Guard units from New Jersey to Maine have been busy breaking ice during the winter months and have been monitoring special aids to navigation in areas known to be impacted by ice. Additionally, Coast Guard-designated ice officers have met with and provided ice training to industry partners.

During the season, Coast Guard Auxiliary members conduct flyovers of areas prone to icing. The information they collect is then relayed to leadership throughout the 1st Coast Guard District.

Some of the most heavily impacted areas with ice this year have been the Hudson River in New York and the Penobscot River in Maine.

The 65-foot Coast Guard Cutters Hawser, Shackle, Tackle, Line and Wire, which are celebrating 50 years in service, have continued to operate in areas impacted with ice.

The Coast Guard breaks ice to:

  • Ensure fuel and energy products are delivered in time when communities need them.
  • Continue performing our port security operations, despite weather conditions.
  • Ensure we are able to respond to maritime emergencies.
  • Prevent or alleviate flooding.
  • Support delivery of household goods, food and medical supplies.
  • Conduct and support scientific research and development.
  • Protect and facilitate passenger and cargo ferry services.

Here are some things for mariners to be aware of this icebreaking season:

  • Icebreaking season is from December 17 through March 31.
  • Aids to navigation may be unreliable in areas impacted by ice due to current conditions. Report any discrepancies to the Coast Guard on VHF-FM Ch 16.
  • Always check the weather and ice conditions, know where you are going and know how to call for help/assistance.
  • Wear the proper anti-exposure clothes with multiple layers. If possible, wear a dry suit to prevent hypothermia.
  • Have all of the proper equipment such as a marine band radio and life jackets.
  • Restrictions may be imposed in local waterways during heavy ice conditions.
  • Ferry operation may be restricted at passenger terminals susceptible to ice.
  • Coast Guard Auxiliary Air Patrol units conduct daily overflights of areas impacted by ice.
  • Ice is driven by wind and current. It is important for prudent mariners to constantly evaluate ice conditions and make recommendations based on actual observed conditions.
  • A minimum of 24 hours notice is required if a facility needs to be cleared for mooring or unmooring with type and quantity of cargo.


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