Top 10 things you need to know about icebreaking season

Northeast Atlantic Coast Guard News
NEW YORK – Coast Guard icebreaking season begins in New York and New Jersey, today.

Coast Guard units in the New York and New Jersey area have been busy preparing for the icebreaking season by replacing aids to navigation in areas known to be impacted by ice with ice hulls, special aids to navigation designed to ride underneath the ice and remain on location. Additionally, Coast Guard designated ice officers have met with and provided ice training to industry partners.

Here are the top 10 things you need to know about icebreaking season:

1.    Icebreaking season is from December 17 thru March 31.

2.    Mariners can contact underway assets at VHF-FM CH 13 or 16 for bridge-to-bridge or emergency communications. Contact Coast Guard Sector New York Command Center at 718-354-4356 for vessel assist and facility breakouts.

3.    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.

4.    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.

5.    The Coast Guard wants people to keep safety in mind, and use the acronym “I.C.E.” to remember the following:

     I — Intelligence: check the weather and ice conditions, know where you are going and know how to call for help/assistance.

    C — Clothing: wear the proper anti-exposure clothes with multiple layers. If possible, wear a dry suit to prevent hypothermia.

    E – Equipment: have the proper equipment such as a marine band radio and life jackets.

6.    Restrictions may be imposed on Hudson River transits during heavy ice conditions. An assist tug may be required whenever the sum total length in feet of the tug and barge multiplied by six is greater than the shaft horsepower of the tug pushing the barge.

7.    Ferry operation may be restricted at passenger terminals in the Upper and Lower Bay, Hudson River and the East River, which are susceptible to ice.

8.    Coast Guard Auxiliary Air Patrol units conduct daily overflights of areas impacted by ice and reports can be found at Coast Guard Sector New York’s Homeport page.

9.    Ice is driven by wind and current. As prudent mariners it is important to constantly evaluate ice conditions and make recommendations based on actual observed conditions.

10.  There are seven Coast Guard vessels homeported in the New York and New Jersey area with icebreaking capabilities.

2010-2011 Ice Season Statistics:

  •   More than 10 million barrels of cargo were moved on the Hudson River
  •  Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Air Patrol conducted 72 overflights
  •  There were four search and rescue missions conducted
  •  Coast Guard cutters conducted nearly 2,000 hours of icebreaking operations
  •  There were three ship/facility breakouts due to ice
  •  The Coast Guard conducted 36 ship escorts through areas impacted by ice

For more information about Icebreaking Operations visit: Coast Guard Sector New York’s Homeport page.

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