Coast Guard kicks off ice breaking season, stands ready to keep ports open, navigable waterways safe

united states coast guard 

News Release  

December 18, 2017
U.S. Coast Guard 1st District Northeast
Contact: 1st District Public Affairs
Office: (617) 223-8515
After Hours: (617) 717-9609

Coast Guard kicks off ice breaking season, stands ready to keep ports open, navigable waterways safe

Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Bay breaks ice in Hudson River

Editors' Note: Click on image to download high-resolution version.

Editor's Note: Icebreaking interviews and embeds will be available throughout the season. Please contact the First District Public Affairs Office at (New England 617- 223-8515) or (New York 212-514-4291)  for opportunities.

BOSTON — The Coast Guard kicked off their ice-breaking season Monday, as winter’s cold temperatures are anticipated to impact every port, waterway, and harbor in the Northeast.

Operation Reliable Energy for Northeast Winters (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.

During the Coast Guard’s 2017-2018 winter ice breaking season, the Coast Guard will conduct ice breaking operations for several reasons, with the priorities being:


Ports and Waterways/Search and Rescue. Facilitate security operations or help prevent loss of life on the water or ashore.


Urgent Response to Vessels. Address situations which have a high probability of becoming hazardous.

Exigent Community Services. Support communities that have need for fuel (petroleum, LPG, LNG), food, and medical supplies, and assist in preventing or easing flood conditions.

Facilitation of Navigation. Meet the “reasonable demands of commerce.”  Coast Guard crews are also replacing aids to navigation with special ice buoys designed to ride underneath ice floes and remain on location.

Other Missions including: Crew training and proficiency. Research and development, and science missions.

This year, our Coast Guard cutters are again poised to work hard to keep vital shipping lanes open to commercial traffic. Of the heating oil used in the country, 85 percent is consumed in the Northeast, 90 percent of that is delivered by barge.

To conduct Operation RENEW, Coast Guard crews will use the following resources:

  • 140-foot Seagoing Icebreaking Tugs
  • 65-foot Small Harbor Tugs
  • U.S. Coast Guard Aircraft
  • U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Aircraft

In moderate to severe seasons:

  • 225-foot Buoy Tender
  • 175-foot Buoy Tender
  • 49-foot Buoy Utility Stern Loading (BUSL) boat

A coordinated effort with the maritime industry ensured the vital ports of the Northeast have remained open every year since Op RENEW has been executed.