Boating Service Hydrographic Engineering Ice Breaking Operations

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Boating Services will have four vessels available during the ice season. The ice breaking schedule listed below is the basic guideline to start the season noting that changes to the schedule may occur based on the severity of ice incurred this season. A heavy ice season may restrict our ability to reach every area on a regular basis due to each vessel's ice breaking capabilities, USCG restrictions, weather conditions, tidal levels and the possible need to relocate vessels to areas of greater need.

Requests for service should be faxed to John Gallagher of Hydrographic Operations at 410-643-2341 or by cell phone 443-534-9610 or office phone 410-643-6521. You can also e-mail requests to john.gallagher1@maryland.gov for specific instructions or emergencies. Information will be sent to the individual captains through our office.

We are encouraging all commercial watermen to move their vessels to areas near our Ice Breakers.

  • M/V J.M. TAWES - Captain Eddie Somers 100' Buoy Tender, 1000 HP-(10") of ice breaking capability -- Areas of responsibility will be Crisfield harbor; Small boat harbor; the east entrance in Smith Is.; Tylerton; Ewell; Deale Is. (Upper Thorofare); Nanticoke Harbor and Tedious Cr. to Lt. #1. The Tawes will also assist the USCG with emergency fuel deliveries in the Wicomico and Nanticoke Rivers as necessary. Primary responsibility is providing an open channel to Smith Is.
  • M/V J.C. WIDENER - Captain Jeff Lill - 73' Buoy Tender 525 HP- (6-8") of ice breaking capability -- Areas of responsibility will include Annapolis Harbor; Back Creek; South River; Spa Creek to Truxton Park; Magothy River to Deep Cr. #1; Severn River to the Rt. 50/301 bridge and West River to # 6 Councillors Pt.
  • M/V A.V. SANDUSKY- Captain Shawn Orr - 80' Buoy Tender, 700 HP-(8") of ice breaking capability -- Areas of responsibility will include Kent Narrows; Rock Hall; Chester River to Cedar Pt.; Miles River to St. Michaels; Eastern Bay and Tilghman Cr.
  • BIG LOU - Captain Doug Scofield 50' Tug, 450 HP -(6") of ice breaking capability-- Areas of responsibility are: Knapps Narrows; Choptank River to Secretary; Broad Cr. to Neavitt Wharf; Tred Avon to the USCG station; Cambridge Harbor, Little Choptank R., Slaughter Cr. and Madison Bay.