It’s Sweater Weather: How we Navigate Winter’s Nastiest Storms

When the Storm Center crew dons their sweaters, you know a wicked storm’s a-brewin’.

In a town that averages about 62 inches of snow a year, Portland sees a lot of winter weather roll through. Historically, January is the snowiest month of the year in Maine’s biggest city with an average of 19 inches measured at the city’s official weather station, otherwise known as the Jetport.

With all this snow flying, you might be wondering how we adapt to the conditions?

Casco Bay Lines runs 365 days a year, and we stick as closely as possible to our regular service schedule. Using a combination of technology and a dedicated team, we navigate Casco Bay in any weather – even snow.

Each vessel is equipped with redundant compasses, radars, VHF radios that we use to talk to other boats, chart plotters, depth sounders, an “old-fashioned” paper chart, and one incredible crew. In snowy weather, we use all of that technology and the eyes and ears of our deckhands to deliver passengers and freight safely across Casco Bay.

During the worst storms, decisions about whether to continue operations are made on an hour-by-hour basis – looking at things like wind velocity and direction, timing of tides, and sea conditions at the island docks.

So how can you stay up-to-date on service interruptions?

We’d recommend following us on Facebook and signing up for our e-mail list and text alerts. If you haven’t seen an update on our website, or you haven’t received a text alert, you can safely assume we’re running on time and on schedule. We know you don’t want to get caught on the wrong side of the bay, so when the weather is bad, we’d recommend getting to where you need to be and hunkering down as conditions worsen.

Stay warm everyone! We may be counting inches of snow, but we’re also counting down the days until summer – 156 days, in case you were wondering!