West Neebish Channel Opens Sunday

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USCG Ice Breaker St. Mary's River

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Coast Guard announces their plan to open the West Neebish Channel in the St. Marys River to commercial traffic Sunday morning, March 31, 2019.

Ice above and below the Neebish Island ferry crossing is deteriorating rapidly.  Prior to announcing these plans, Coast Guard officials conferred with the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority (EUPTA) and the local ferry operator to collect their input.

Both support the timing for the waterway opening.  It is believed there will be minimal impact to ferry operations, but with support from EUPTA the Coast Guard recommends Neebish Island residents prepare for the possibility that ferry operations may become hindered by ice.  In doing so, consider moving a vehicle to the mainland, pack for overnight contingencies, stock pantries, top off propane and/or fuel oil for heating, prepare for medical needs and the inability to transport children to and from the island to attend school.  The Coast Guard endeavors to minimize interruption of the ferry service but cannot guarantee an outcome.

As a precaution, the Coast Guard is prepositioning an air rescue boat to assist with emergency medical evacuations should ferry service to island become interrupted. Call 911 if you have a medical emergency.

For up-to-date information on ferry operations call the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority (EUPTA) delays, cancellation, and updates hotline at (906) 632-1516, check the local ferry Facebook pages, or the EUPTA website at EUPTA.net.

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