Spring Icebreaking on St. Lawrence River Between Montreal and Québec

News release

February 24, 2022

Québec, Quebec - The Canadian Coast Guard will begin its spring icebreaking operations on the St. Lawrence River between Montréal and Québec on the morning of February 27. These activities could begin earlier due to the increased risk of the stalling of coastal pack ice brought about by the combination of warm weather and high tides expected to start March 1st. Icebreaking will continue thereafter on several streams, rivers, and river mouths in Quebec.

Annual operations on the St-Lawrence River, including those near Lac-Saint-Pierre, are designed to break coastal pack ice into smaller pieces, thus preventing large blocks of ice from drifting and blocking navigation channels. As for the icebreaking operations on the smaller rivers, they are designed to clear ice from the entrance of the tributaries to prevent ice jams and subsequent flooding that may occur during the spring thaw.

This type of icebreaking is carried out by Canadian Coast Guard air cushion vehicles (hovercrafts), the CCGS Mamilossa or the CCGS Sipu Muin, whose engines make a sound similar to that of an aircraft.

We have experienced prolonged periods of intense cold since the beginning of the season, with short periods of mild weather accompanied by strong winds, which favored the break-off of the pack ice.

The Canadian Coast Guard reminds the public that it can be very dangerous to venture onto the ice of the St. Lawrence River and suggest that they familiarize themselves with our ice safety advice. As a reminder, it is also always dangerous venture onto the ice when icebreakers, hovercrafts or any other ships are in the vicinity. Ice movement can occur and pose a real danger to anyone in the operational area of these vessels, even long after the vessel has left the area.

People who have left facilities or equipment on the ice are advised to bring them back to shore as soon as possible.

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Communications Branch
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Quebec Region

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