Ice, ice, baby!
You won’t be able to navigate a boat at will in the upper Chesapeake Bay area through April 15. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has designated the area hazardous because of icy conditions and will require permission from the Captain of the Port of Baltimore or his designee for boating in the region. The restriction is in effect immediately.
USCG announced the rule in the Federal Register of Monday, March 9. It affects the northern Chesapeake Bay and all tributaries in the area and the western portion of the Delaware Canal between the Delaware/Maryland border across the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal east of Chesapeake City and a line drawn across the Chesapeake Bay at the William P. Lane, Jr. (US-50/301) Memorial Bridges between Sandy Point and Kent Island. If you have any questions, contact Ronald L. Houck, Sector Baltimore Waterways Management Division, USCG, (410) 576-2674, Ronald.L.Houck@uscg.mil
Because of imminent hazardous conditions, USCG did not provide advance notice or a public comment period. It fears frozen waterways could steer boats off course or cause sinking or grounding. It is broadcasting the ban though marine bulletins, including reports on the thickness of the ice. During winters, hazardous ice buildups frequently occur in the waterways, most often in the canal between Town Point Wharf and Reedy Point; in and around Baltimore Harbor; and the Elk River, Susquehanna and Patapsco rivers.
USCG says it will allow some traffic in certain areas if conditions allow for it to travel safely. If conditions allow, it may end the ban sooner than April 15