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Boreal Community Media

Ice Breaking operations begin on Lake Superior

Mar 19, 2019 06:36AM ● By Editor

Coast Guard Cutter Alder.  Photo: U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener 


By Devon Mahieu of Up North Live - March 19, 2019


Icebreaking operations will begin on Lake Superior in preparation for the 2019 shipping season.

The United State Coast Guard said USCG Cutters Mackinaw, Alder and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Samuel Risley will be making their way up through the Soo Locks Tuesday.

The Mackinaw and Alder will transit the upper St Marys River, Whitefish Bay and then the ice-covered waters of Lake Superior toward Duluth, Minnesota to prepare the twin ports for commercial vessel departures.

According to the USCG, the CCGS Samuel Risley will go through Thunder Bay, Ontario to begin icebreaking work after a crew change.

Although not limited to a specific area, the three icebreakers, joined later by other icebreaking assets, will focus initial icebreaking activities on the western Lake Superior ports of Superior WI, Duluth, Silver Bay, Taconite Harbor and Two Harbors in Minnesota, and Thunder Bay, ONT. 

USCG crews said the crew will expand and eventually encompass Marquette, the Keweenaw Waterway and Chequamegon Bay.

The icebreaking work in these areas is not expected to begin until the end of March.

The Coast Guard recommends that members of the public who recreate on the ice, particularly those who fish or operate snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles on ice-covered waters of western Lake Superior, plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from charted shipping channels. Ice breaking activity can weaken ice far beyond the tracks created by the cutters.

It is also recommended users stay tuned to local media resources for the status of regional waterway closures and future planned icebreaking operations, and follow media notification and social media outlets @USCGGreatLakes on Twitter, use caution near the ice.

For more information, contact the U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service at (906) 635-3232 or via email at [email protected]

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here