U.S. Coast Guard cutters are prepping for the start of the 2018 Great Lakes shipping season March 26 by breaking ice in Lake Superior, the Straits of Mackinac and the St. Marys River.
The so-called Spring Breakout readies the lakes for the opening of the Soo Locks Sunday, connecting Lake Superior with Lake Huron.
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, Cleveland-based Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay and Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley will enter through the locks prior to the official opening, according to a Coast Guard news release.
While the Mackinaw will lay down tracks along charted shipping routes within Whitefish Bay, the other two ships will travel west to break ice in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Marquette, Michigan. The Coast Guard Cutter Alder will break ice in Western Lake Superior.
More than half of Lake Superior is still covered with ice.
The Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, the Cleveland-based Cutter Neah Bay, and Mobile Bay will manage the ice remaining in the lower river, Straits of Mackinac, Bay of Green Bay and Georgian Bay.
The U.S. Coast Guard works with the Canadian Coast Guard to keep waterways throughout the Great Lakes open to the safe transport of commercial shipments.
Meanwhile in Cleveland Interlakes Steamships have already been making some runs from the Port of Cleveland Bulk’s Terminal up the Cuyahoga River.