Coast Guard warns of loose, broken ice - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Coast Guard warns of loose, broken ice

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Businesses remain open along the frozen maumee shoreline, even as supply chains slow to a crawl.  

"The economic impact of these vessels not being able to make their destination is relatively severe," coast guard lieutenant commanding officer said.

Along our southern lakeshore, the ice is often more than 18 inches thick.   An extra boost now arrives from a private tugboat, aptly named the Ohio. It 's opening a southern route along south bass island, put-in-bay and catawba island.   The coast guard isn't running the tug's mission but warns that ice could become loose around the popular islands.   If that happens, the toledo station will be ready from land to lake.

"We'll go in our ice truck and we'll take that to wherever the scene is.   And then we'll unload all of our gear there," Bradley Belisle said.  "And then if we need to, we'll go out on the ice and make a rescue."

Boatswain's Mate Second Class Bradley Belisle is quick to point out that no ice is safe ice.  He says this winter's bitter cold has kept people off of the ice, so rescues are down this season.  

"Just out on the river, we have to be a little bit more careful, because it is 10% weaker, about than our normal ice that would just be in our boat basin."

The ice jams upriver have nowhere to go and Toledo's harbor may require an extra boost from Canada's team of ice cutters before winter is done.  The Coast Guard knows their job means big business. 

"Iron ore, coal, grain, heating oil, and salt.  These are the big commodities running through the Great Lakes this time of the year. We're talking, gheez, two billion dollar industry just for this part."

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