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Tag Archive | "ice-safety"

Changing weather conditions prompt ice safety reminder


 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers, snowmobilers and other outdoor enthusiasts to exercise caution on the ice, especially as temperatures fluctuate across the state.

The recent deep freeze has given way to a warming trend, which affects the integrity of ice. In addition to temperature changes, DNR conservation officers say other factors determine the strength of ice, and that outdoor enthusiasts should know the warning signs.

“Don’t assume the ice is safe just because a lake or stream looks frozen,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, DNR recreational safety programs supervisor. “There are several factors that can determine the strength of the ice. Understanding and recognizing these factors, as well as using common sense and caution, will allow you to have a more enjoyable outdoor experience and to make it home safely.”

According to Wanless:

You can’t always determine the strength of ice simply by its look, its thickness, the temperature or whether the ice is covered with snow. New ice generally is stronger than old ice. While a couple of inches of new, clear ice may be strong enough to support a person, a foot of old ice riddled with air bubbles may not.  

Clear ice that has a bluish tint is the strongest. Ice formed by melted and refrozen snow appears milky, and often is porous and weak.

Ice covered by snow always should be presumed unsafe. Snow acts like an insulating blanket and slows the freezing process, making the ice thinner and weaker.

If there is slush on the ice, stay off. Slush ice is only about half as strong as clear ice and indicates the ice no longer is freezing from the bottom.

Be especially cautious in areas where air temperatures have fluctuated. A warm spell may take several days to weaken the ice. But when temperatures vary widely, causing ice to thaw during the day and refreeze at night, the result is a weak, spongy or honeycombed ice that is unsafe.

The DNR does not recommend the standard “inch-thickness” guide used by many outdoor enthusiasts to determine ice safety. A minimum of 4 inches of clear ice is needed to support an average person’s weight, but since ice seldom forms at a uniform rate it is important to check the thickness with a spud and ruler every few steps.

Deep inland lakes take longer to freeze than shallow lakes. Ice cover on lakes with strong currents or chain-of-lakes systems also is more unpredictable.

Ice near shore tends to be much weaker because of shifting, expansion and heat from sunlight reflecting off the bottom. If there’s ice on the lake but water around the shoreline, proceed with caution. Avoid areas with protruding logs, brush, plants and docks as they can absorb heat from the sun and weaken the surrounding ice.

Wanless said that anyone walking onto a frozen lake or river should wear a life jacket, wear bright colors, carry a cellphone and bring a set of ice picks or ice claws. He advises against taking a car, truck or snowmobile on the ice.

If you do break through the ice, Wanless offered the following tips:

Try to remain calm.

Don’t remove your winter clothing. Heavy clothes won’t drag you down, but they can trap air to provide warmth and flotation. This is especially true with a snowmobile suit.

Turn your body toward the direction you came from, as that ice is probably the strongest.

If you have ice picks or ice claws, dig their points into the ice while vigorously kicking your feet and pull yourself onto the surface by sliding forward on the ice.

Once out of the water, roll away from the area of weak ice. Rolling on the ice will distribute your weight to help avoid breaking through again.

Get to shelter, warm yourself, change into dry clothing and consume nonalcoholic, noncaffeinated drinks.

Call 911 and seek medical attention if you feel disoriented, have uncontrollable shivering or notice any other ill-effects that may be symptoms of hypothermia.

To learn more about staying safe while on the water or in the woods, visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/recreationalsafety.

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DNR reminds public of ice-safety measures


With warm and rainy weather patterns seen in recent weeks in many parts of the state, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources urges ice anglers and snowmobilers to remember that no ice is safe ice.

“When temperatures reach into the 40s, as they have recently in many areas, thawing will occur and that will definitely weaken ice,” said Sgt. Steve Orange, DNR Law Enforcement Division’s recreational safety, education and enforcement supervisor. “It’s very important to know and follow guidelines to determine how ice looks and feels so that your day of ice fishing or snowmobiling is enjoyable and safe. Ignoring warning signs of weakened ice can result in a life-threatening incident.”

The DNR does not recommend the standard “inch-thickness” guide used by many anglers and snowmobilers to determine ice safety, because ice seldom forms at a uniform rate.

Orange said a warm spell may take several days to weaken the ice; however, when temperatures vary widely, causing the ice to thaw during the day and refreeze at night, the result is a weak, “spongy” or honeycombed ice that is unsafe.

Ice strength can’t be determined by its look, thickness, the temperature or whether or not it’s covered with snow, Orange said.

When venturing onto ice, remember:

  • Clear ice that has a bluish tint is the strongest. Ice formed by melted and refrozen snow appears milky, and is very porous and weak.
  • Ice covered by snow always should be presumed unsafe. Snow acts like an insulating blanket and slows the freezing process. Ice under the snow will be thinner and weaker. A snowfall also can warm up and melt existing ice.
  • If there is slush on the ice, stay off. Slush ice is only about half as strong as clear ice and indicates the ice is no longer freezing from the bottom.

Although it’s a personal decision, the DNR does not recommend ice anglers take a car or truck onto the ice,” Orange said.

Anyone venturing onto the ice is urged to wear a life jacket, wear bright colors, bring a cell phone and bring along a set of ice picks or ice claws, which can be found in most sporting goods stores.

If ice does break, Orange offered the following tips:

  • Try to remain calm.
  • Don’t remove winter clothing. Heavy clothes won’t drag you down, but instead can trap air to provide warmth and flotation. This is especially true with a snowmobile suit.
  • Turn in the water toward the direction you came from; that is probably the strongest ice.
  • If you have them, dig the points of the picks into the ice and, while vigorously kicking your feet, pull yourself onto the surface by sliding forward on the ice.
  • Roll away from the area of weak ice. Rolling on the ice will distribute your weight to help avoid breaking through again.
  • Get to shelter, heat, warm dry clothing and warm, nonalcoholic and noncaffeinated drinks.
  • Call 911 and seek medical attention if you feel disoriented, have uncontrollable shivering or have any other ill effects that may be symptoms of hypothermia (the life-threatening drop in the body’s core temperature).

Learn more about ice safety on the DNR website www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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No ice is safe ice


 

Practice ice-safety measures while fishing, snowmobiling

 

With warmer temperatures for most of Michigan in the forecast this week, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urges ice anglers and snowmobilers to remember: No ice is safe ice.

“With several days of warmer temperatures in the forecast this week, including the possibility of rainy days in the high 40s, we want to remind ice fishermen and snowmobilers that thawing will occur and that will definitely weaken ice,” said Lt. Andrew Turner, marine safety and education supervisor for the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “By following some guidelines on how ice looks and feels, you can avoid your day of ice fishing ending as a life-threatening incident.”

According to Turner, you can’t always tell the strength of ice simply by its look, its thickness, the temperature or whether or not it is covered with snow. Here are some quick things to look for when venturing on ice:

Clear ice that has a bluish tint is the strongest. Ice formed by melted and refrozen snow appears milky, and is very porous and weak.

Ice covered by snow always should be presumed unsafe. Snow acts like an insulating blanket and slows the freezing process. Ice under the snow will be thinner and weaker. A snowfall also can warm up and melt existing ice.

If there is slush on the ice, stay off. Slush ice is only about half as strong as clear ice and indicates the ice is no longer freezing from the bottom.

Turner said anglers should be especially cautious in areas where air temperatures have fluctuated. A warm spell may take several days to weaken the ice; however, when temperatures vary widely, causing the ice to thaw during the day and refreeze at night, the result is a weak, “spongy” or honeycombed ice that is unsafe, he said.

The DNR does not recommend the standard “inch-thickness” guide used by many anglers and snowmobilers to determine ice safety because ice seldom forms at a uniform rate.
“I personally would never recommend that you take a car or truck onto the ice,” Turner said. “But those are personal decisions. I would urge that anyone wear a life jacket, wear bright colors and take a cell phone when walking onto a frozen lake or river. Also, bring along a set of ice picks or ice claws, which you can find in most sporting goods shops.”

If you do break through, Turner offered the following tips:

Try to remain calm.

Don’t remove your winter clothing. Heavy clothes won’t drag you down, but instead can trap air to provide warmth and flotation. This is especially true with a snowmobile suit.

Turn in the water toward the direction you came from – that is probably the strongest ice.

If you have them, dig the points of the picks into the ice and, while vigorously kicking your feet, pull yourself onto the surface by sliding forward on the ice.

Roll away from the area of weak ice. Rolling on the ice will distribute your weight to help avoid breaking through again.

Get to shelter, heat, warm dry clothing and warm, non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated drinks.

Call 911 and seek medical attention if you feel disoriented, have uncontrollable shivering or have any other ill effects that may be symptoms of hypothermia (the life-threatening drop in the body’s core temperature).

 

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