As we know, the weather is unpredictable, especially here in northeast Michigan, which means inconsistent ice. It’s more important than ever to be prepared to go out on the ice when doing winter activities. It’s important to remember, no ice is safe ice.
“As it gets thicker and thicker, you can go out and enjoy, but you still have to be careful, okay? There’s some things that you can do to make it so you have a fun time on the ice, whatever you’re doing, ice fishing or snowmobiling, whatever like that,” says Michigan DNR Officer Jon Sheppard.
The most important part of being safe on the ice is being aware of your surroundings. Checking the ice to make sure it’s solid, as it could be thin on a lot of bodies of water.
“If the ice is under 4 inches, it’s definitely not safe to even be walking out there. So, just check. Keep checking, and check what the ice actually looks like too,” says Sheppard.
In case of an emergency, it’s important to stay calm and control your breathing, which is the best way to begin the process of getting back to safety.
“Actively control the breaths you’re taking in, and then you can assess on how you’re going to get out. If you were to fall through, you want to try to get out the way you came,” says Sheppard.
As the winter progresses, it’s likely the ice will start to get more consistent, which means more time for ice activities, but remembering these tips on how to stay safe adds an element of security.