Coast Guard Cutters Tackle and Shackle break ice along the Penobscott River in Bangor, Maine, Feb. 21, 2013.  Photo/U.S. Coast Guard by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Simpson.

Coast Guard Cutters Tackle and Shackle break ice along the Penobscott River in Bangor, Maine, Feb. 21, 2013. Photo/U.S. Coast Guard by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Simpson.

The Coast Guard’s winter icebreaking season has officially kicked off in the Northeast, starting December 16 and running through March.

During the annual effort, known as Operation Reliable Energy for Northeast Winters (RENEW), the Coast Guard will conduct icebreaking operations for several reasons:

  • 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 Coast Guard units throughout the Northeast have been busy preparing for Operation RENEW by conducting training operations and prioritizing efforts. They are also replacing aids to navigation with special aids designed to ride underneath ice floes and remain on location. And the impact of these efforts extends well beyond the Northeast region.

Seventy-five percent of all heating oil used in the country is imported through New England, New York and New Jersey. Ninety percent of that is delivered by barges through Coast Guard-protected ports.

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