A lot depends on whether salt- or fresh-water ice.
We get both. Sometimes hard fresh-water floes come down the river,
and get frozen into a matrix of soft salt ice (especially nasty in
spring, or after a CG icebreaker goes up-river). It's a matter of
dodging the nasty stuff. Look for natural breaks, and push the floes
over (or under) each other to clear a channel.
But, ice can be terribly sharp and destructive. I count on major
repairs after any run-ins with significant ice - glass-epoxy
sheathing cut through to plywood, nicked propeller, etc. We use a
seriously reinforced work skiff in the winter. Just add a couple
layers of glass to repair.
A few years ago, my wife and I, headed out to the island, got stuck
in the snow about 1/2 mile from the boat, and had to lug our gear
(including too many bottles of wine - couldn't leave it in the car to
freeze!) down to the water. By the time we got there, it was pretty
dark, so we flipped the skiff upright, attached motor, dragged it
down to the water, and pushed it over a crusty bank that had formed
on the shore, to hear "thunk" as it landed on the bay...
On the other hand, there's nothing as pretty as the reflections and
light of a bay, at dusk, just as it starts to gel into ice. Takes
only a few minutes.
Curtis (now making plans for a February boating vacation in Maine:-)
---Harry James wrote:
> It is probably what happened, Ice really isn't that sharp unless it
> really cold. I have only had damage done once to a hull by it and
that was to
> a boat anchored out in a good tide way. I believe it was blunt
> than cutting.
> You can make your way through quite thick ice, I used to herring
> Norton Sound every spring and I have broken through some large pans
> ice in a boat with 3/8th's plywood sides and 1/2 in bottom. You
ease up to
> it, power on up and let the weight of the boat break through.
> Spring time is the best time to mess with ice. You don't want to be
> way up the river in the fall as the pan ice is forming in the
> Freeze up can happen in a matter of hours.