Watch: Frigid Temperatures Keep Coast Guard Busy Breaking Ice

Despite slightly warmer temperatures recently, Coast Guard icebreaking crews remain busy on the Hudson River keeping a path open for commercial vessels and breaking free those beset by the ice.

Coast Guard cutters have been breaking the ice on the Hudson River since late-December in support of Operation – Reliable Energy for Northeast Winters (RENEW).

USCG Ice breaker
Image Credits: USCG/Petty Officer 3rd Class Steve Strohmaier

Operation – RENEW is the Coast Guard’s region-wide effort to ensure Northeast communities have the security, supplies, energy, and emergency resources they need throughout the winter.

Currently, ferries in the New York City area are operating with restrictions due to the ice formation. Ice Condition Three has been set for the Upper and Lower Bay, as well as the Hudson and East River. This means that vessels need to operate at reduced speed while in the presence of ice and the ferry crew needs to conduct rounds of all internal spaces below the waterline every 30-minutes.

USCG Ice breaking
Image Credits: USCG/Petty Officer 3rd Class Steve Strohmaier

The Coast Guard prioritizes any requests for icebreaking assistance. The top concerns are keeping Coast Guard search and rescue stations capable of responding to emergencies, aiding vessels beset in ice, and helping island communities receive fuel, food, and medical supplies by water. The Coast Guard will also break ice to facilitate the safe navigation of cargo ships, passenger ferries, and commercial fishing vessels.

One 140-foot Ice-Breaking Tug and two 65-foot Small Harbor Tugs have been used over the past several days to clear a path and escort vessels between Poughkeepsie and Albany, New York, where ice covers the entire river. The 65-foot harbor tugs are capable of breaking ice up to one-foot thick and the 140-foot cutters can ram through ice up to three-feet thick.


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