U.S., Canadian Coast Guards conduct Spring Breakout

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw exits the Soo Locks ahead of Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley and U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay cutting first tracks into the Upper St. Marys River as part of Spring Breakout. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Charles Kelly)

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw exits the Soo Locks ahead of Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley and U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay cutting first tracks into the Upper St. Marys River as part of Spring Breakout. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Charles Kelly)

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — U.S. Coast Guard cutters are breaking ice in Lake Superior, Bay of Green Bay, Straits of Mackinac and the St. Marys River as part of Spring Breakout in preparation for the seasonal opening of the Soo Locks, which are scheduled to open to commercial vessel traffic on Sunday.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay and Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley will enter through the locks prior to the official opening.

Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw will begin laying down tracks along charted shipping routes within Whitefish Bay. The other two vessels will travel west to conduct ice breaking in Thunder Bay, Ontario and Marquette, Michigan. The Coast Guard Cutter Alder will break ice in Western Lake Superior.

With more than 50 percent of Lake Superior still covered with ice, the majority of ice breaking resources will be positioned above the Soo Locks. This leaves the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay, and Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay to manage the ice remaining in the lower river, Straits of Mackinac, Bay of Green Bay and Georgian Bay.

The U.S. Coast Guard is committed to keeping critical waterways throughout the Great Lakes open to the safe transport of commercial shipments and works closely with the Canadian Coast Guard to achieve that goal.

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