A U.S. Coast Guard ice breaker will be out in the Penobscot River before you know it.

The Coast Guard recently told us in a press release that 85% of all home heating oil is consumed in the northeast portion of the country, and that it is imperative that they keep the waterways in the region passable during the cold winter months.  This year's ice breaking operation is called Operation Reliable Energy for Northeast Winters, and the Guard's ice breaking fleet is already hard at work throughout New England.

One can normally see the Coast Guard's ice breakers out in the Penobscot every January and February busily at work. It's not uncommon to find area employees sitting in their vehicles while eating lunch on both sides of the Penobscot, admiring the ice breakers out in the frozen river from Bucksport to Bangor.

Coast Guard crews are currently busy also replacing buoys, the familiar navigational aids in Maine's waterways, with special buoys made to repel ice and withstand the immense pressure that ice creates on them.  They're also out there making sure that certain buoys remain lighted and where they should be.

We thank the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard that are out there working hard in the very chilly and wet elements, making sure that home heating oil makes it's way to our area of Maine and that mariners remain safe.

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