VIDEO: Ice, Ice, Baby

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Small Coast Guard icebreakers like the USCGC Chock perform a vital service in keeping icy waterways open all winter long.

Small Coast Guard icebreakers like the USCGC Chock perform a vital service in keeping icy waterways open during the winter.

Frigid, bone-chilling air is gripping the Mid-Atlantic region, and there are no signs that it will let up anytime soon. That means waterways like the C&D Canal are icing up and causing problems for vessels that need access to the water.

Whether it’s for pilot boats shuttling back and forth between ships navigating the canal, or for commercial oyster or clam boats trying to get to the shellfish beds, the USCGC Chock plays a vital role in keeping things running smoothly.

Commissioned in 1962, USCGC Chock is a 65-foot small harbor tug capable of breaking 18 inches of ice underway, or up to 24 inches when she backs up and then and rams the ice. This video shows a typical work day during ice season.

Though winter ice is treacherous for boats, it can create beautiful seascapes. Annapolis, Maryland, artist Leonard Mizerek captured one such scene in this painting of a schooner getting underway from an icy Maine harbor, which appeared in the February 2016 issue of Soundings