Ice Impacting Vessel Traffic on the Delaware River

Extreme cold temperatures and ice formation may impact navigation throughout the Captain of the Port  (COTP) zone of the Delaware River.  Ice is 6-8 inches thick along some parts of the river, and that has prompted the US Coast Guard to take action.  All masters, ship agents, owners, and operators of all vessels, marine facilities, and marinas should review and adhere to the Ice Condition II procedures for the Delaware River and its tributaries, the Delaware Bay, and NJ and DE coasts. The COTP Delaware Bay may establish additional requirements for specific geographic areas of the COTP Zone if conditions warrant such restrictions.

River traffic is restricted to all but steel-hulled vessels, from the Chesapeake-and-Delaware canal in the south and the Betsy Ross Bridge in the north. All vessels at anchor should maintain their engines on standby at all times when ice is present as well as ensure that proper bridge watches are stood at all times.  Mariners are advised to be diligent about bridge watches while at anchor, and are cautioned that buoys and beacons may become dislodged or destroyed in the ice, affecting navigation.

Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Nicholas Woessner  said that for the time being  the two ice-breaking tugs will be breaking ice up, making sure that commercial traffic is able to get to the waterfront facilities that they need to.

Additional information regarding ice operations within the Sector Delaware Bay zone  can be found at the U.S. Coast Guard Website , also  updates to ice conditions can be heard by calling the Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay Ice Hotline at (215) 271-4995.