US Coast Guard

USCG Cutter Bollard Breaks Ice on Connecticut River

The US Coast Guard Cutter Bollard has been breaking ice on the Connecticut River since the 1950s.

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The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bollard is breaking ice on the Connecticut River once again.

The 65-foot vessel has been breaking ice in the state since the 1950s.

"It's just an awesome sight to see. The parting of the water- it is nature at its finest out here," said Kathleen Jenkins of Deep River, as she watched the Bollard from her car.

In the winter, the Bollard's main mission is to break ice and keep the waterways clear. The cutter works all along the Connecticut River, from the Long Island Sound up to Hartford.

There are eight other similar boats that work across New England in the winter.

"It is responsible for breaking ice to make sure that home heating oil is getting delivered to people that need that to make sure they are warm throughout the winter months," said Admiral Tom Allan with the U.S. Coast Guard. "Making sure that the rivers, the bays, and the ports stay open from this kind of ice so that our products can get in and out is very important."

The senior chief of the Bollard, John Murphy, said that conditions are moderate right now. The ice is anywhere from four to eight inches thick.

"If the temperatures continue to stay where they are at, it could get a little bit thicker," said Murphy.

The Bollard usually starts breaking ice in mid-December. Depending on the weather, they end the ice-breaking operation in March.

"The crew really enjoys it," said Murphy. "We are a big part of the community here."

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