Breaking the ice

Scale model of new coast guard ship tested

Published on October 24, 2012

When you’re putting $720 million into an icebreaker, you want to make sure that you don’t make any mistakes when you build it.

That’s why the National Research Council’s Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering ice tank is being used to test hull designs for the new Canadian Coast Guard Ship John G. Diefenbaker. Members of the media were invited to witness one of the tests of a six-metre scale model as it broke through a layer of ice at the facility.

The model was controlled by retired coast guard captain John Broderick as remote readouts from the model scrolled across nearby screens. The layer of ice in the tank simulated one year old 2.3-metre-thick sea ice.

After the first pass by the model, project engineers measured the width of the opening that was cut by the model and the actual simulated strength of the ice layer. The ship was then manoeuvered in a star pattern to create an opening so that another model of a stranded ship could be freed. A diver also filmed the test from below the ship.

Here are some of the images captured during the test.