MIDDLETOWN- The Coast Guard cutter, Bollard, is out on the Connecticut River breaking through ice jams.
"It'll help prevent serious flooding or serious ice jams just by keeping that track cut," said Chief Christopher Connolly of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Flooding is one of the main concerns, but another goal is to clear the way for any commercial boats trying to make their way down the river.
"I think 90 percent of the home heating oil used in New England moves on Coast Guard maintained waterways so we need to make sure that continues to move," said Connolly.
The Bollard is more than 50 years old. Inside, a mix of older and newer technology help lead the way.
"Yeah it’s an old boat but it does a great job these boats are workhorses and they get the job done year after year, it’s pretty amazing," said fireman Jeff Predella of the U.S. Coast Guard.
It’s a job that’s necessary every yea regardless of how much snow we get, or how cold it is.
"No matter how mild the winters, we’re always out here breaking ice," said Predella.
Even though the ice we're seeing this year may seem like a lot, it’s nothing compared to two years ago when even this ship has trouble getting through some ice jams.
"We were up here for like a solid two weeks straight trying to get it, we’d flush it all out and the next it’d freeze all up and you kind of just had to keep doing that until it’s all flushed out," said Predella.
Even without serious ice jams, the Coast Guard will still spend days at a time on the river, breaking through all of the existing ice.