The waters of the St. Marys River in Sault Ste. Marie are set to host a United State Coast Guard Ice Cutter Round-Up that’ll see crews and vessels from across the Great Lakes gather for a week of training exercises.

The annual USCG Ice Cutter Round-Up could feature up to eight ice cutters from across USCG District Nine (the Great Lakes region.) Cutters are expected to make their way to the Soo on Sunday, Sept. 17th with an opening ceremony for members of the USCG set for Monday, Sept. 18 at the Pullar Stadium. Training will take place throughout the week offering plenty of great photo opportunities along the river for the public.

As host of the 2023 USCG District 9 Ice Cutter Round-Up, Sector Sault Ste. Marie’s Buckthorn will be at the front and center of the week. The oldest ice cutter on the Great Lakes has been serving the community for over 50 years.

“We are Sault Ste. Marie’s hometown cutter and have been lighting up the river since 1971,” said USCG Chief Warrant Officer and commander of the Buckthorn Jeffery Ritter. “It’s going to be an awesome time.”

The Buckthorn is a favorite of shipping traffic lovers across the Eastern Upper Peninsula, as well as a welcome sight for those directly impacted by the ice that builds up in the St. Marys River over the course of a winter.

Ritter noted that in his 20+ years of service to the United States Coast Guard, he’s never been prouder to be a part of a crew than he is with the Buckthorn and Sector Sault Ste. Marie. The Soo serves as an important area for Coast Guard operations around the Great Lakes. As the gateway to Lake Superior, a handful of integral Coast Guard operations run through Sault Ste. Marie including Operation Taconite, which is the largest domestic icebreaking operation in the United States.

The main purpose of the Ice Cutter Round-Up is training and team building Among the activities, there will be an “Ice Cutter Olympics” competition amongst the Coast Guard members. Ultimately, the round-up is set to serve as preparation for the busy winter months ahead. For the general public, the training will offer a chance to see Coast Guard cutters that normally don’t call Sault Ste. Marie home.

Interested in finding out when Coast Guard cutters such as the Biscayne Bay will be making their way to the Soo for the Round-Up? OR where the Katmai Bay may be breaking ice this winter? Check out our Finding Freighters blog and use the same tips to check out your favorite cutters.