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Coast Guard to begin icebreaking operations Saturday

Initiative will allow commercial vessels safe, efficient movement in and out of harbours
CCGS Risley
The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley will be breaking ice in the Midland area this weekend.

The Canadian Coast Guard advises that icebreaking operations will start on or about Saturday March 16, 2019 at Owen Sound and Midland.

The purpose of this annual operation is to allow commercial vessels safe and efficient movement into and out of the harbours. Residents can expect to see the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley icebreaking in the area.

The date is subject to change depending on operational requirements or weather conditions.

All ice surface users should plan their ice activities carefully, use caution on the ice and avoid the shipping lanes and icebreaking operations. 

Broken and fragmented ice tracks and ridging left behind by passing icebreakers or commercial vessels may not freeze over immediately. This can result in hazardous conditions for ice users. In addition, newly fallen snow will obscure ship tracks. Unsafe ice conditions can persist long after icebreakers have left the area.

Spring Icebreaking:

Canadian and United States Coast Guard ships are breaking ice at several locations in the Great Lakes in preparation for resumption of the commercial shipping season.  

Both Coast Guards have a vital role in supporting the safe and efficient movement of commercial vessel traffic year round, especially during spring break out and the annual re-opening of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway Navigation Systems.

The Welland Canal opens March 22, and the navigational locks at Sault Sainte Marie reopen March 25 after their respective winter work periods.

The St. Lawrence Seaway officially opens for the 2019 shipping season on March 26. 

The Seaway is the system of locks, canals and channels linking the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence River with the Atlantic Ocean. It's official opening was in 1959, making this year its 60th anniversary. For more information please visit