Ice Operations

Coast Guard Cutter NEAH BAY breaks Great Lakes ice approximately 50 miles east of Grosse Isle, Michigan.

The Coast Guard conducts icebreaking services to assist vessels and communities in emergency situations and facilitate essential commercial maritime activities in the Great Lakes and Northeast regions. In 2008, the Coast Guard, in concert with the Government of Canada and the commercial icebreaking industry, sustained navigable waterways for commercial traffic and assisted with 680 ice transits, representing the transport of over $2B (U.S.) of cargo.

Beyond domestic operations, the Coast Guard operates the only U.S.-flagged heavy icebreakers capable of providing year-round access to the Polar regions. In 2008, the busiest iceberg season in a decade, the International Ice Patrol facilitated commerce by broadcasting position information on 1,029 icebergs crossing south of 48 degrees north latitude.

Last Modified 3/20/2014