Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Hëyob, a boatswain’s mate and ice pilot, navigates Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star through ice during Operation Deep Freeze 2018, Jan. 31, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Ameen.

Operation Deep Freeze: Ice pilots

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is only one of two cutters in the service with qualified ice pilots aboard. Ice pilots are responsible for navigating the ship through different types of ice. On their way to Antarctica, ice pilots will first negotiate pack ice—large pieces of floating ice—before reaching the fast ice, which extends out from the shore and is attached to it.