Late winter ice-breaking operations on Green Bay are a regular occurrence. However, this year's joint operation between the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw and the Sturgeon Bay-based cutter Mobile Bay marks a first. The Mackinaw is helmed by its first female commander. Kristen Serumgaard took over command of the Mackinaw last July. While she's the first woman at the helm of the vessel, she's served in the executive ranks of other Coast Guard vessels, joining other women in similar commands.
Commander Serumgaard says ice conditions and maintaining navigation buoys have not been the biggest challenges she's faced in eight months on the job. The biggest has been working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Opening shipping lanes on Green Bay and the Sturgeon Bay ship channel will be Commander Serumgaard's second visit to Door County in as many weeks. The Mackinaw conducted testing that will be used to help develop future heavy icebreaking vessels.