We have recently heard that our home, the Earth, was born some 100 million years ago, which is relatively recently as the big bang took place 13.8 billion years ago. The first humans are estimated to have inhabited the Earth some 8 million years ago. People have been sailing the seas at least some 5-10 thousand years. The first people, who crossed the Atlantic Ocean, as far as we know, were the Vikings, some 1200 years ago. They might have been the first who had any contact with ice. The serious business in trying to find the spice route through the north was over four hundred years ago started by Dutch Willem Barentz who started to sail the North East passage towards east, but he did not get very far. After mapping Spitsbergen and Frantz Josef land he stranded on Novaya Zemilya. Those days the ships were propelled by oars or sails, which did not work very well in ice. It took some two hundred fifty years until the ships were equipped with steam engines and the means to get the power into the water was either paddle-wheel or propeller. Steam power allowed the ships to be more flexible what comes to manoeuvring and the skipper was not so much dependent on wind or muscle power. The development of modern navigation in the icy waters started seriously during the second half of 19th century. People started truly to look for the passages both to the East and West through the North. The first icebreakers were built late 19th early 20th century. In those days icebreakers had just stronger hull structures and more power in the engine than the conventional ships. Traffic was limited in the north to summer period when the extent of ice was at minimum. In the Baltic and other sub-arctic waters icebreakers were really needed during the opening of the season in spring and lengthening the season at the autumn end. After the second World War, when people started to raise from the ashes the interest to ice navigation steamed up and during the last 60 years the development of technology has helped. This paper will talk about how navigation has taken steps during history and also look where we might be going to.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.