New Coast Guard Warnings in Northern Chesapeake Bay

As this winter’s deep freeze continues, the Coast Guard is cautioning mariners to be aware of ice formation on the upper Bay and its tributaries.

 The Coast Guard Sector Maryland National-Capital Region Captain of the Port (COTP) has set seasonal ice condition two. That means “ice of noteworthy thickness and coverage has formed within the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, the upper Potomac River, and on the Maryland eastern shore.”

The Coast Guard is asking all boat owners and operators, masters, ship agents, marinas and marine facilities to report ice conditions they see to the Sector Maryland-NCR command center at 410-576-2693 or [email protected].

USCG also reminds mariners to prepare for ice using the procedures below:

When ice is present and navigational restrictions are imposed by the COTP, vessels must have the proper hull type and an adequate propulsion system meeting the minimum horsepower requirements to be able to maneuver unassisted through the ice without needing to stop, back off and ram the ice.

When ice is present in the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, navigational restrictions will be coordinated with COTP Delaware Bay and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Canal Project based on the shared jurisdiction of the waterway.

Vessel moorings should be checked frequently to ensure the vessel is secured.

Vessels at anchor should maintain their engines on standby at all times.

Vessels at anchor should ensure proper bridge watches are stood at all times.

Vessel sea chests should be checked regularly for ice buildup and precautions should be taken to ensure the sea chests are kept clear.

There are currently steel hull restrictions in place for vessels using the C&D Canal. Boaters can contact the canal dispatcher on duty with questions about the requirements.

The status for local waterways can also be found at or by calling the Sector Maryland-NCR ice line at 410-576-2682.