A sure sign of Spring – USCG starts breaking ice in the St. Mary’s River Tuesday

Coast Guard Ice Breaker

Sault Sainte Marie, Mich. – Tuesday March 9, 2021, the Coast Guard will start breaking ice in the lower St. Marys River in preparation for the 2021 Great Lakes commercial shipping season.

Initially the icebreaking activity will focus on the lower St. Marys River, south of Munuscong (Mud) Lake and the Middle Neebish Channel north and east of Neebish Island.  By Saturday March 13th, the Coast Guard will extend their icebreaking activity into the southern half of the West Neebish Channel, working from Mud Lake Junction Light north to the south end of the Rock Cut.  The Coast Guard will not disturb the ice north of the Neebish Island ferry crossing or south of West Neebish Channel Light 45.

In the coming weeks, as the March 24 scheduled opening of the Sault Locks approaches, icebreaking activities will encompass all navigable waters of the St. Marys River.

Recreational users of the ice should plan their activities carefully, use caution near the ice, and stay away from charted navigation areas.

Coast guard to break the ice between Cheboygan and Bois Blanc Island

Tuesday March 9, 2021, Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock will execute the breakup of the ice separating Bois Blanc and Cheboygan, Michigan also known as the South Channel.

Captain of the Port Sault Sainte Marie will open the South Channel; effective 0800 EST March 9, 2021.  Due to the increase in air temperature, the ice is deteriorating.  Breaking up the field of ice, advances the deterioration and enables local ferries to resume service to Bois Blanc Island.

The Coast Guard recommends that members of the public who recreate on the ice, particularly those who fish, or operate snowmobiles or all – terrain vehicles on ice-covered waters of the St Marys River, plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from charted shipping channels. Ice breaking activity weakens the ice far beyond the tracks created by the icebreakers.

If you have questions about local or regional icebreaking activities, you may contact the Vessel Traffic Service at (906) 635-3232 or via email at [email protected].