The Coast Guard ice breaking season is underway as winter’s cold temperatures are impacting ports, waterways, and harbors in the Northeast.

Coast Guard cutters Bridle, Shackle, and Tackle, are scheduled to break ice along the Bangor, Maine, waterfront on the Penobscot River on Thursday.

Operation Reliable Energy for Northeast Winters (RENEW) is the Coast Guard's regionwide effort to ensure Northeast communities have the security, supplies, energy, and emergency resources they need throughout the winter.

Of the heating oil used in the U.S., more than 85% is consumed in the Northeast, and 90% of that is delivered by ship on a Coast Guard maintained waterway.

The goal of the Coast Guard's domestic icebreaking operations are to facilitate navigation within reasonable demands of commerce and minimize waterways closures during the winter, while enabling commercial vessels to transit through ice-covered critical channels.

Coast Guard crews are also replacing aids to navigation with special ice buoys designed to ride underneath ice and remain on location.

A coordinated effort with the maritime industry ensures the vital ports of the Northeast remain open year-round.