Coast Guard teams prepare for Great Lakes icebreaking

(AREA) — U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard officials are looking ahead to the winter icebreaking season on the Great Lakes. Both agencies participated in a planning session this week in Cleveland, Ohio with representatives of other federal agencies and industry. They discussed lessons learned from the previous season, as well as the status of their forces and future policies. Icebreaking on the Great Lakes is crucial to keep shipping lanes open for vessels hauling cargo such as heating oil and coal. U.S. Coast Guard crews based in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, focus on Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, northern Lake Huron, the St. Marys River and the Straits of Mackinac. Detroit-based crews break ice across southern Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair and Detroit River systems, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.