St. Mary’s River Ice Breaking Operations Begin

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Ice Breaking

The United States Coast Guard will begin ice breaking operations in the St Marys River in preparation for the 2015 shipping season tomorrow, Friday March 13th. These operations will begin in the lower river near Detour, and extend north to the Locks in Sault Sainte Marie.  Conducting the ice breaking work will be U.S. Coast Guard Cutters MACKINAW (Cheboygan, MI) BISCAYNE BAY (St Ignace, MI) MOBILE BAY (Sturgeon Bay, WI) and KATMAI BAY (Sault Sainte Marie, MI).

Ice breaking operations will involve work in the up bound channel, also known as the Middle Neebish Channel, from the Detour to the Sault Locks, the lower portion of the West Neebish Channel from Mud Lake Junction Light up to the ice edge near West Neebish LT 29.  The upper portion of the West Neebish Channel above light 45 will also be broken out.  The ice bridge above the ferry landing to Neebish Island will not be impacted by this work.  The West Neebish Channel in its entirety will be opened just prior to the 25 March opening of the Sault Locks.  U.S. Coast Guard personnel will work with EUPTA officials to ensure the impact to ferries are kept to a minimum throughout the break out process.

All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) operators, snowmobiler’s, and other recreational users of the ice should avoid any proximity to the shipping channels, plan their activity carefully, and use caution near the ice.  Additionally, all ice fishermen should remove their ice shacks from areas close to the shipping channels.


The crews of Coast Guard Cutters Mackinaw and Katmai Bay break ice along the shores of the St. Marys River in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., March 20, 2014. The two cutters, along with the Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay, passed through the Soo Locks the following morning en route to break ice in Lake Superior to create a path for a convoy of commercial ships. U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi Read.

Further inquiries can be made by phone to Sault Vessel Traffic Service at (906) 635-3232 or via email at SOOTFC@USCG.MIL.