BALTIMORE (WJZ)– As summer fires up, how about a change of pace, like winter?

Freezing weather may not be on most of our minds, but as Alex DeMetrick reports, for the Coast Guard, it’s never too early to prepare for ice.

Although it never showed up during last winter, ice– and a lot of it– often forms in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake.

That’s brought a new tool to the Coast Guard station in Baltimore. A tug-boat shaped cutter– whose specialty is breaking ice– has been transferred here from Virginia along with her eight-man crew.

With a steel reinforced hull and a 500 horsepower engine, the vessel is one of a handful the Coast Guard operates and has been since they were first built back in the 1960s.

“She’s a shining example of boat building, because unlike some of us over 50 years old, she doesn’t show her age,” Capt. Mark O’Malley, a United States Coast Guard commander, said.

Because the vessel is new to Baltimore, there was a welcoming ceremony for the Chock. That’s what that piece of boat hardware is called. All vessels in the class are named after a piece of hardware.

The boat has worked Maryland waters before, back when that water turned to ice.

“A few years ago, Chock was called to the Wicomico River to escort a few ice-bound fuel barges, and actually aided in serving citizens of the Eastern Shore with critical fuel for the winter months,” BMC Brian Kuhar, commanding officer of Chock, said.

And the next time boats become ice-bound, help won’t have to come all the way from Virginia.

The Chock isn’t just a winter boat. It works year-round doing jobs like law enforcement and search and rescue.


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