It is impossible to judge the strength of ice by its appearance, thickness, daily temperature, or snow cover alone. Ice strength is dependent on a number of factors, including water depth under the ice, water area size, water chemistry, currents, and load distribution on the ice.
Below are important reminders for ice:
Are ice conditions safe?
- Walking on ice is not safe unless there are more than four inches of solid, clear ice.
- Vehicles should not be driven on ice. Snowmobiles and ATVs require at least five inches of solid, clear ice for travel.
- Some bodies of water include aerations systems, which create areas of water with no ice and weakened ice beyond the opening of the body of water. Check water access for indications of an operating aeration system.
If going on ice is necessary, here’s what to do:
- Always prepare as if the ice may be unsafe.
- Be with an experienced professional.
- Never go near ice alone. When entering the ice, have one person stay on shore while the other enters.
- Travel a fair distance apart on the ice to create a lesser chance of ice breaking due to weight. This will also ensure the two persons cannot fall in the same break on the ice.
What to wear on the ice:
- Carry a pair of homemade ice picks tied together with a few yards of strong cord that can be used for self-rescue. Be sure they have wooden handles so if they are dropped they will float rather than sink.
- Always wear life jackets when near any bodies of water, even when they are covered in ice.
- Wear layers of non-cotton clothing. Make sure to wear gloves and a hat. Layers generally help with warmth. If someone falls in, layers may provide some additional buoyancy with trapped air. Non-cotton material will not absorb as much water and will dry out more quickly.
For more cold weather safety information, visit www.GetPrepared.in.gov.