News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Announces Winter Ice Breaking Operations

Fleet Ready for the Winter Season

ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 16, 2009) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Boating Services will have four boats available this year to complete ice breaking services on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries during the winter season.

“These vessels allow watermen to continue making a living when they would otherwise have to stay in port due to icy conditions,” said DNR Director of Boating Services Bob Gaudette. “These ice-breakers also provide a lifeline to areas such as Smith Island and provide safe passage for barges carrying cargo and fuel on the Wicomico River to the City of Salisbury.”

A heavy ice season may restrict DNR’s ability to reach every area on a regular basis. This could be due to each boat’s ice breaking capabilities, U.S. Coast Guard restrictions, weather conditions, tidal levels and the possible need to relocate vessels to areas of greater need.

Requests for ice breaking services should be faxed to John Gallagher, Chief of Boating Services Hydrographic Operations Division at 410-643-2341. He can also be reached by calling 443-534-9610 or 410-643-6521. You can also e-mail the office for specific instructions or emergencies. Information will be sent to the individual boat captains through the Hydrographic Operations office. DNR encourages all commercial watermen to move their vessels to areas near the state ice breakers or NRP patrol boat stations prior to freezing conditions.

The basic ice breaking location guidelines and vessel specifics can be found at Changes to the schedule may occur based on the severity of ice incurred this season.

State ice breaking operations are financed through DNR’s Waterway Improvement Fund, the revenues of which come from the 5 percent vessel excise tax when a boat is titled in Maryland.

   December 16, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at