Time to go Ice Fishing!

It has been a very cold winter in Connecticut… one of the coldest on record.  With all this cold and snow, many are taking to the region’s lakes to ice fish, skate, snowshoe, cross-country ski, and snowmobile.

Did you know that falling into icy water can lead to loss of consciousness and death within 15-30 minutes if you are not quickly rescued?

Knowing how to stay safe on the ice is really important.  Here are a few things to consider…

Ice Safety:

  • Remember – any time you go out on the ice, there is risk involved.
  • Never go out on the ice alone.
  • Let others onshore know of your plans so that help can find you if there is a problem.
  • Ice thickness is NEVER consistent.  Shallows, marshy areas, areas with moving water, and inlets are just some of the areas that often present much thinner ice.
  • If you can – drill test holes to gauge ice thickness before venturing far from shore.
  • When it comes to lake and pond ice, appearances can be deceiving.  Darker areas often indicate thinner ice.  Cracks and slushy areas should be avoided.
  • Ice at the edge of a body of water is often weaker than ice over open water… particularly during warmer periods like late winter.
  • Submerged objects can actually weaken the ice around them.
  • Many think the presence of snow guarantees thick ice.  Actually, in some cases, snow serves as an insulator – preventing thickening of the ice.
  • When walking on the ice with a buddy – always walk with some separation between you and your friend so that if the ice breaks, you don’t both fall in.
  • If you have any doubts about ice depth – wear a life preserver.  A flotation device could save your life.
  • Consider carrying a few survival tools like a cell phone, lighter, pocket knife, and a whistle.
  • If you like walking your dog on the ice, keep them on a tether or leash so that you can keep them away from unsafe areas.

What if you do fall in?  Here are a few tips:

  • First and foremost – stay calm.  Thrashing about actually causes more rapid heat loss.
  • Call for help – or if you remembered a whistle – blow it long and hard.
  • As you get older, your body will stiffen and lose strength.  Make a move to pull yourself out of the water as soon as possible after falling in.
  • If you make it out – slide forward on your stomach to distribute your weight over a wider area.  Do not stand until you are completely certain of the thickness of the ice.

Wintertime can bring many enjoyable outdoor adventures.  By following a few simple safety rules, you can make sure you and your family avoid injury.

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