Icebreaking Season Begins in Northeast

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Bay breaks ice along the Kennebec River, in Gardiner, Maine, March 27, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Simpson.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Bay breaks ice along the Kennebec River, in Gardiner, Maine, March 27, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Simpson.

The Coast Guard’s 2014-15 winter icebreaking season has officially kicked off in the Northeast. It will run through March.

Ice-breaking operations are conducted for the following reasons:

  • The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bridle breaks ice along the Kennebec River, Maine, March 27, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Simpson.
    The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bridle breaks ice along the Kennebec River, Maine, March 27, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Simpson.

    To facilitate security operations with ports, waterways and coastal security missions

  • To help prevent loss of life on the water and ashore when impacted by ice
  • To provide urgent response to vessels directly impacted by ice
  • To support communities’ need for fuel, food and medical supplies
  • To assist in preventing or easing flood conditions
  • To meet the reasonable demands of commerce to facilitate navigation on frozen, navigable waterways

According to a Coast Guard press release, 75% of all heating oil used in the U.S. is transported through New England, New York and New Jersey. Ninety-percent of that is delivered by barges through Coast Guard-protected ports.