Canadian Coast Guard prepares for Great Lakes icebreaking operations

MANITOULIN—The Canadian Coast Guard, in partnership with the United States Coast Guard and the Ontario Provincial Police remind all recreational ice users to plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice and stay away from shipping routes and icebreaking operations throughout the Great Lakes.

In Ontario, Coast Guard icebreaking operations to assist commercial shipping are scheduled for Midland as early as December 31, 2016 and Whitefish River on northern Lake Huron January 5, 2017. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley will be transiting to its home port of Parry Sound on or about January 1, 2017. 

These are the first of many ship transits throughout the winter months. Dates and routes are subject to change with little or no notice, due to weather, ice conditions, shipping schedules or other unexpected situations.

Broken and fragmented icy tracks left behind by icebreaking operations and other ship traffic may not freeze over immediately. In addition, newly fallen snow may obscure icebreaker and ship tracks. Changes in weather contribute to unsafe ice conditions that may remain long after the ships have left the area.

The Canadian Coast Guard’s Central and Arctic Region will continue to work with industry in the coming months to ensure scheduled vessel traffic can move through the shipping channels and into and out of community harbours safely and efficiently. CCG vessels are also at the ready to respond to environmental response incidents or other urgent or humanitarian emergencies.

For more information about the Canadian Coast Guard, visit