Polar Star to visit Juneau

The ice break Polar Star will visit Juneau on Saturday and will be open to the public. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard.

The only heavy ice breaker in the Coast Guard’s fleet will be in Juneau this weekend and open for tours.

The Polar Star is returning from its first trip to the Arctic Ocean since a four-year, $57 million overhaul of the ship.  It was reactivated in December in Seattle then tested in the open ocean before heading to the Arctic.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Kip Wadlow says the ship and crew have been conducting ice tests.

“The ice tests allowed the crew of the Polar Star to travel back up into the Arctic, test the ship’s capabilities going through the ice and also train their crew up so that they’re going to be ready to meet the Coast Guard’s Arctic and Antarctic missions in the future,” Wadlow says.

The Polar Star is returning to its home port in Seattle.  It was commissioned in 1976 and is one of two active Coast Guard ice breakers.

The smaller Healy paid a port call to Juneau in November.

Tours of the 399-foot Polar Star are Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the AJ Dock.

Children must be accompanied by an adult.  Pets are not allowed on board.

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