U.S Coast Guard Ice Breaking Season Begins

Coast Guard Established First Track For Lakers

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The perk of this week’s weather stretched all the way out to Lake Superior which means the Twin Ports will soon be alive with shipping traffic. 

But, before those goods are able to be transferred, the Coast Guard is helping them by creating some shipping lanes. 

Fox 21’s Avery Neuville boarded the Cutter Alder at 9 a.m. Thursday morning to begin the 4 hour trek, 4 miles out on Lake Superior. 

But, how does the Coast Guard break the ice?

“We’re not actually pushing through the ice.  We’re riding up on top of it and using the weight of the ship to crash down on top of it,” said Lt. Derrick Rocky. 

This year was a little different than last because the temperatures are warmer, the harbor’s ice is thinner. 

But, that doesn’t mean they don’t get stuck once or twice. 

When the weight isn’t enough it’s time to start ‘backing and ramming.’

“We will back up 150 yards. We’ll come ahead about 8-10 knots and try to crash through the ice,” Rocky said.

So, why is the Cutter the only ship allowed on the ice?  To establish that first track for the lakers to get out. 

Rocky is excited to be a part of the experience. 

Being raised in California, it’s a different experience for him but he loves showing off what they do for the community. 

“It’s good to show people this is what the Coast Guard does and pass our mission along to people,” Rocky stated. 

Fourth grader, Maddie Johnson, learned a little bit about what their mission was Thursday.

“They cut the ice so the ships can come in,” Maddie expressed. 

She’s excited to share her memories in the morning as her teacher told her she had to present what she learned to her class.

The Coast Guard will be out for the next two weeks. 

The Soo Locks are set to open March 25th. 

There are 9 additional Cutters on the Great Lakes.

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