St. Mary’s River Ice Breaking Begins


Sault Sainte Marie, Mich. Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay starts breaking ice Monday March 09, 2020 in the lower St Marys River in preparation for the 2020 shipping season.

Later in the week, Coast Guard Cutters Mackinaw, Neah Bay, Morro Bay, and Bristol Bay will
augment the icebreaking fleet assigned to the St Marys River. To date, icebreaking activity was limited to the lower St Marys River, south of Munuscong (Mud) Lake and the Middle Neebish Channel north and east of Neebish Island. Monday, the Coast Guard extends their icebreaking activity into the southern half of the West Neebish Channel, working from
Mud Lake Junction Light north to Moon Island. The Coast Guard will not disturb the ice north of Moon Island until the week of 16 March. They do not plan to break ice north the Neebish Island ferry crossing south of West Neebish Channel Light 45 before 20 March 2020.

Unlike some previous winters, this year was unseasonably warm. Regional ice cover is not as
expansive nor did it reach traditional thicknesses. The forecast for the next seven to ten days calls for temperatures conducive to rapid deterioration of ice. All snowmobile, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) operators, ice fishing, and other recreational users of the ice should recognize the instability of the ice, plan their activities carefully, and use caution near the ice, especially in proximity to
charted navigation areas.


  1. Its early this year. I recall April 15th as the official opening date years back…when the icebreaker would bring the Lighthouse Keepers up to open their Lights. My dad was on Caribou Island, the furthest point out…

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