I originally came across that TikTok of a boat cutting through ice on the Chicago River in downtown Chicago and it piqued my curosity.

If you're like me an have never seen anything like this you're in luck, I did some research about the "what" and "why". One thing I learned, this vessel is used all year round, not just in the winter.

First of all, boat is built tough, obviously. The Christopher Wheatley, is an 11-year-old fire boat named after fallen Chicago Firefighter Christopher Wheatley. The 31-year-old firefighter died after falling from a ladder while batting a fire, according to CBS Chicago. The boat, which (based on its size) is technically a vessel, is large and very sturdy considering its made from steel and concrete. It is large enough to hold 5 crew members ranging from first responders, to boat pilots, and engineers, according to Chicago Sun TImes.

 

In the winter, a big part of the vessel's job is to break up the ice on the Chicago River.This is to allow potential water rescues and in the event the vessel would need to travel down the river for whatever reason.

Once the boat cuts through the middle of the river, surrounding ice slowly breaks off. (Chicago Sun TImes)

The Christopher Wheatley has other responsibilities outside of winter. All year round it's a water rescue mobile command center on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. The vessel also has "deck guns" that and pump out an astounding 15,000 gallons of water per minute.


JB Love is ½ of  Q98.5's Lil Zim & JB In The Morning, weekday mornings from 5:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

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