Ice Safety Tips from the Michigan DNR

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Colder temperatures have arrived in Mid-Michigan, causing lakes and rivers to freeze; but they might not be safe for you to walk on yet. Incidents of people falling through ice in recent weeks on area rivers and lakes have prompted warnings from the Michigan DNR.

Recent footage from a sledding party on a California lake shows what can happen to people who get into trouble in icy waters, and even to their would-be rescuers. Many of the people trying to help a man who had gone through the ice while sledding, ended up falling through the ice into the freezing water themselves.

Here are some ice safety tips from the DNR, please remember them when you are around ice-covered rivers and lakes this winter.

Ice Safety Tips

Avoid crossing frozen bodies of water in a single file.

Never venture onto the ice alone or without telling your plans to a responsible adult.

Any time you are on the ice and have not personally checked the ice thickness consider yourself in harm's way. Check the thickness of the ice with an ice spud before venturing onto the ice.

Never Drive a Car or Truck on the ice.

Avoid standing or walking in areas with a group of people.

Always wear a life jacket when on the frozen surface of a lake or river.

Carry a pair of ice picks. These are designed for a self rescue and are two handles with a nail device in one end attached to each other by a length of rope.

Look for large cracks or depressions in the ice.

Learn and practice rescue techniques by using ropes, boats, ladders, etc.

Ice does not form with uniform thickness on any body of water. Underwater springs or currents can wear thin spots on any body of water.

Clear ice is the strongest. Ice formed by melted and refrozen snow appears milky, is very porous and very weak. Ice covered by snow should always be presumed unsafe.

Four inches of ice will generally hold an average-sized person on foot. Snowmobiles and ORVs need at least eight inches of solid, consistent ice.