What does it take to beat the thick ice on Lake Superior? The U.S. Coast Guard just might have your answer.
The Coast Guard uses boats known as cutters to essentially ram into the ice and break it up. One of the keys is to break the ice into small enough chunks that won't damage other boats.
Sometimes it takes a little extra help.
"Part of the challenge with the ice conditions is that escorts are frequently more than a single cutter operation and we're having to leverage multiple assets to get vessels across the lake," said Michael Patterson, Commanding Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay.
It took almost 32 hours for the convoy to reach Marquette from Duluth. Normally a trip like that would only take about a day.
With that being said, if they wanted to head back to Duluth, the path that was created by the two cutters has all but disappeared.
"Those are long gone by now. That ice out there's floating around, it's breaking up, it's moving kind of like floating continents out there so there's not going to be a path," said Kenny Powers, Commanding Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay.
The two cutters planned to make their way toward Whitefish Bay; however the strong northerly winds have made it more difficult to travel to the east. Although, that didn't mean today was a waste.
"While the gales make it difficult to escort a vessel across the lake, they do give us an opportunity to flush some ice out of the harbor. So we're taking advantage of conditions that exist," said Patterson.
The two cutters broke up some of the ice around Marquette Harbor and Presque Isle.
Knowing their limits is a big part of the job for the Coast Guard and it helps make them a CUT above the rest.