You know when you're a kid, especially a boy, and you're just uber fascinated by large vehicles? Like front end loaders, or dump trucks, or any of that kind of thing. At 47 years old, not much has changed for me. Maybe I'm not as loud and obnoxious about it. Although perhaps my wife might disagree.

To that point, every year around this time, the Coast Guard begins bringing their famous ice breakers up the Penobscot River. If you drive over the Chamberlain Bridge, you can plainly see that the river has pretty much frozen over. But during Maine's cold winter months, that can be kind of a serious problem.

Granted, Mother Nature takes care of part of it by the river being tidal, but sometimes she needs a little help from the Coast Guard to keep the mighty Penobscot flowing. Why? Because 85% of the heating oil in the U.S. is used here in the northeast, according to WABI - TV5. And 90% of that comes in via Coast guard protected waters.

So over the coming weeks, you could see any of a few vessels that swing up through here to break things up a bit. You might see the 140-foot CGC Thunder Bay, or the 65-foot CGC Bridle, or perhaps the similar sized CGC Tackle. Any one of these boats could be powering through the ice and freeing up the river for oil delivery.

But that's not the only reason they swing through. They also offer assistance to vessels that could have problems, or trapped by ice. The coast Guard said this in a recent press release:

In addition to ensuring communities get the supplies they need, the Coast Guard also prioritizes search and rescue, ice rescue and assisting vessels beset by ice. On average, the Coast Guard assists over 100 vessels that become stuck in ice yearly.

Most of the work is done though, because of the need to keep the oil flowing. I gotta wonder though, when those oil tankers ships to come up this way and hook up to the tank fields on the Penobscot, do they whistle like it does when I get the oil filled at my house? Meh. Probably not.

If you want to see the CGC Bridle, here's a sweet video if it in action...

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