Coast Guard warns western Lake Erie communities of upcoming commercial ice-breaking activity

DETROIT — The Coast Guard is advising residents of southern Lake Erie islands including Catawba Island, Ohio, that the commercial tug Ohio is scheduled to break ice from South Bass Island to Catawba Island Tuesday morning.

This ice-breaking operation does not involve a Coast Guard icebreaker; nonetheless, the Coast Guard is advising residents and visitors that any ice in the area may be particularly unstable and dangerous.

The tug Ohio will depart Cleveland Monday at about 1 a.m. and head toward South Bass Island, transiting between Kelleys Island and Middle Island. The Ohio will later depart from Put-in-Bay in South Bass Island and head toward Catawba Island at about 10 a.m. with a barge in tow. The vessel will transit around the eastern portion of South Bass Island toward the Miller’s Ferry Dock on Catawba Island following the Miller Boat Ferry Route. The vessels plan to remain in Catawba Island for 2 hours loading construction supplies. After loading, the vessels are expected to depart Catawba Island at about 1 p.m. In case of a delay loading at Catawba Island, the Ohio may depart Wednesday morning.

All transit times and locations are subject to change based on weather conditions.

All efforts are being made to limit the impact on winter activities on the ice, however the Coast Guard advises everyone to stay clear of this area.

Anyone participating in ice activities on the Great Lakes should follow the acronym of I.C.E.:

  • Information about current weather and ice conditions. Tell a friend of your intended destination. Know who and how to call for help.
  • Clothing that is appropriate for the activity. Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. Choose bright colors and reflective garments to aid searchers if you should end up needing help.
  • Equipment to be safer on the ice. Always bring a life jacket, a compass or GPS, a means of communication, such as a marine radio, and screw drivers or ice picks, which may allow you to pull yourself out of the water should you break through.

For additional information on this project, contact Mark Nowakowski of HPH Mechanical at 419-843-2225.

Additional ice safety information can be found in the Coast Guard’s “Think Twice with Ice” safety brochure.

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  1. Matt Karbler says:

    That’s wrong You should stop them from doing that to our ice your gonna get somebody killed .all about putnbay who cares wait till spring totally wrong .

  2. MIchael says:

    This should be stopped for at leats two more weeks. The Western Basin economy is getting a huge lift from the great ice fishing that we have experienced this year.

  3. Matt says:

    Why can’t they wait? The ice fishing is good for the local economy. Bait shops, hotels ,restaurants , etc.

  4. tim says:

    It is their ice and lake also . They stopped it once for ice fishing . That part of the lake is the worst and most unsafe ice on the lake . Previous years the
    South Passage has been open water with guys icefishing to the West of the park . Crane Creek has had the better fishing anyway.,,

    Sorry but cant stop growth for a few guys.

  5. bob says:

    I disagree that is “for a few guys”, or only affects a few people.
    I would say this fiasco is due to the lack of planning of “a few guys” and will affect an entire community!
    They should have gotten this done while the water was open.
    To say that they put it off once is of no consequence.
    Sure, it’s their lake. It belongs to all Americans, but that doesn’t give them the right to disrupt others.

  6. DB says:

    The contractor will lose his ass. I wouldn’t hire these clowns to build a deck. You get what you pay for…..

  7. richard smith says:

    Nice to know when they are doing it, for ice fishermen

  8. ed says:

    the open water they are going to make will cause problems for ice fishermen no matter where they are located…………

  9. bob says:

    we shouldn’t be too quick to judgment without fully understanding what happened, I just hope nobody gets hurt and the coast guard is doing a great job getting the word out…go coastguard!

  10. tim says:

    Bob you said it best “Sure its their lake. It belongs to all Americans.But doesnt give them the right to disrupt others”

    But it is ok for the ice fishermen in the area to disrupt by stopping others ???

    Well said Bob.

  11. MBI Bob says:

    No matter what you try to do you just can’t warn everyone! They will be putting lives at risk! If they’ve waited this long they can certainly wait just a couple of more weeks. This is the best ice we’ve had for ice fishing in several years. Who knows how long it might be before we have another winter like this?

  12. bob says:

    tim I am certainly not attacking our point of view and respect your opinion… I just heard the company didn’t get the contract until November which wouldn’t have left much time to do anything. so like I said before we shouldn’t rush to judgment. it’s just unfortunate and hopefully nobody will get hurt. there will always be more ice

  13. James says:

    Dear coast guard next weekend when I go ice fishing out on Lake Erie and if because of what you people think you have to do to our ice not yours not put-in-bays but all of the thousands of fishermen along with all of the snowmobile s that have the right to use this Great Lake as long as Mother Nature tells them they can ,so if the ice breaks away you will gladly come out on the ice and get me and anyone else and their equipment back to shore without bitching about having to do so . Yours truly James Dean

  14. tim says:

    James Dean , where did you read the CG has anything to do with this ?? It is a private Tug coming to do the work . Your complaint holds no water since you dont even know what or who is doing it .

    Like my post above , why do you think the ice fishermen and snowmobiles own the lake is beyond me .The lake is everyones not just OURS. Everyone includes businesses making a living as well . You know the affected area so simply stay away and you will have no problem . By the way , the South Passage had open water just the past couple of days so unless you can walk on water , you wouldnt be fishing or sledding that area anyways . People need to think before making comments that make no sense as you make all us fishermen look stupid .


  15. Dan says:


    Maybe they will give everyone free dockage this summer at Put-In-Bay for the invonvience to everyone!
    Hopefully everyone has enough common sense to stay away from the affected areas ice fishing or snowmobiling etc. It is what it is so just enjoy the ice you have left till spring when there will be plenty of fish and water sports for all.


  16. Aaron says:

    Well said Tim! All I can add to that is that there is still plenty of good ice to fish and this Lake is big enough to be shared by all. The tug Ohio is a very professional group of Mariners and it is our job as ice fishermen to be well informed and we are responsible for keeping ourselves safe.