Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Now that's an icebreaker

   You know that uncomfortable feeling when you walk into a room and you aren't really sure whom to talk to or what to say? What you need is the USCGC Mackinaw, designed to ram through 32 inches of solid ice or ten feet of brash ice, and to fully penetrate a ten-foot pressure ridge in less than half an hour.
   Or maybe you don't need that, but the Coast Guard does, and it's mighty proud of this five-year-old vessel, which was docked next to Chicago's Navy Pier this morning, after distributing 1,200 Christmas trees to low-income families and retrieving buoys for the winter.

The USCGC Mackinaw.
   This is a luxury liner of a Coast Guard vessel. It boasts a 3133-square-foot heated buoy deck as well as two-person staterooms for its 55 crew members. And it has "multi-mission capabilities," meaning it can be used for search-and-rescue, buoy-tending, ice-breaking and even oil spill containment, as well as continuing the nearly 100-year-old "Christmas Ship" mission.

   Now there's a conversation starter!

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