Maryland DNR Prepares Icebreaking Ships For Winter


Credit: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

HAVRE DE GRACE - Residents may notice a new Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) ship on the Chesapeake this winter. The DNR christened its latest icebreaker, the M/V Eddie Somers, in March, and this winter will be its first in operation.

The department announced on Tuesday that the four large vessels used to break through ice in Maryland’s many rivers near the Chesapeake bay are ready for the 2022/2023 winter season.

Based on the Eastern Shore, DNR’s Hydrographic Operations team operates the icebreakers that perform various duties throughout the Chesapeake Bay, including driving through ice sheets on the water’s surface to allow navigation. The department’s boats are shallow draft, meaning they can get into rivers and shallow areas of the Bay.

The new M/V Eddie Somers was commissioned into service by Governor Larry Hogan in a September 2022 ceremony and is set to serve the Crisfield-Smith Island area. The boat is named after former DNR Capt. Eddie Somers, who retired in 2018 after 25 years as captain of the M/V J. Millard Tawes, the ship the new vessel replaced.

The M/V Eddie Somers at port. (Credit: Maryland Department of Natural Resources)

The new ship was recently recognized by the noted trade publication “WorkBoat” as one of the ten significant new vessels in the United States.

The DNR’s other icebreaking vessels include:

M/V J.C. Widener, a 73-foot buoy tender that serves Annapolis Harbor, Back Creek, and portions of Spa Creek and Magothy, Severn, South, and West rivers.

M/V A.V. Sandusky, an 80-foot buoy serving Kent Narrows, Eastern Bay, Tilghman Creek, Rock Hall, and portions of the Chester and Miles rivers.

M/V H.J. Elser, a 50-foot utility vessel with icebreaking capability serving Knapps Narrows on Tilghman Island; and portions of the Choptank and Tred Avon rivers, Broad Creek, Town Creek, Easton Point Landing, Cambridge Creek/Harbor, the Little Choptank River, Slaughter Creek, Chapel Cove, and Madison Bay.

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