Coast Guard upgrades Chesapeake Bay ice warning

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(BALTIMORE) — The Coast Guard Sector Maryland National-Capital Region captain of the port (COTP) set seasonal ice condition 2 on Wednesday, and cautions mariners to be aware of ice formation on Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Seasonal ice condition 2 is set when ice of noteworthy thickness and coverage has formed within the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, the upper Potomac River, and on the Maryland Eastern Shore.

All masters, ship agents, and owners and operators of all vessels, marine facilities and marinas are encouraged to report observed ice conditions to the Sector Maryland-NCR command center at (410) 576-2693 or Additionally, mariners should review and prepare for the seasonal ice procedures below:

• When ice is present and navigational restrictions are imposed by the COTP, vessels must have the proper hull type and an adequate propulsion system meeting the minimum horsepower requirements to be able to maneuver unassisted through the ice without needing to stop, back off and ram the ice.
• When ice is present in the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, navigational restrictions will be coordinated with COTP Delaware Bay and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Canal Project based on the shared jurisdiction of the waterway.
• Vessel moorings should be checked frequently to ensure the vessel is secured.
• Vessels at anchor should maintain their engines on standby at all times.
• Vessels at anchor should ensure proper bridge watches are stood at all times.
• Vessel sea chests should be checked regularly for ice buildup and precautions should be taken to ensure the sea chests are kept clear.

The Sector Maryland-NCR COTP may establish additional requirements for specific geographical areas of the COTP zone if conditions warrant such restrictions.

The Chesapeake City resident engineer, representative of the district engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Philadelphia, has prescribed steel hull restrictions for the C&D Canal. The canal dispatcher on duty should be contacted regarding conditions and requirements for vessels using the canal.

Ice-related vessel and/or waterway restrictions are announced via Coast Guard broadcast notices to mariners, five times daily at 3 a.m., 7:05 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. local time on marine band radio VHF-FM Channel 22A.

The status for local waterways can also be found at or by calling the Sector Maryland-NCR ice line at 410-576-2682.

The status and extent of these restrictions are continuously evaluated as ice condition reports are received and assessed.

By Professional Mariner Staff