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Tag Archive | "snowmobilers"

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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Park rangers rescue lost snowmobilers in the Porcupine Mountains


 

Two snowmobilers, missing in the backcountry near Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park for more than 24 hours during blizzard weather conditions, were rescued Monday afternoon by a team of Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation staff working in conjunction with local, state and federal agencies.

At approximately 2 p.m. Monday, after snowshoeing through blinding snow, wind chills of 40 degrees below zero, and snow depths in excess of four feet for several hours, DNR Parks and Recreation district supervisor Bill Doan and park rangers Jimmy Newkirk, David Merk and Emily Pleiness successfully located Benjamin M. Jenney Sr. and Benjamin M. Jenney Jr., a father and son from Albertville, Minn., approximately 2 miles from the nearest road.

The Jenneys, who were suffering from frostbite, hypothermia and dehydration, were helped to nearby snowmobiles and transported by Michigan State Police and local volunteers to an area accessible by ambulance.

The pair became stranded after their snowmobiles broke through the ice on the Little Iron River Sunday afternoon. Although the area does not receive reliable cell phone coverage, the Jenneys were able to send several text messages to family relaying their situation.

Using geo-location data attached to the text messages, Michigan State Police and the Civil Air Patrol identified a remote four-square-mile area where the Jenneys were last known to be, allowing the DNR ranger team to begin a coordinated search and rescue effort along the Little Iron River corridor Monday morning.

Due to deep snow off trail and open water on the river, Doan determined the rangers would need to search by snowshoe rather than by snowmobile. The team broke up, with Doan and three rangers hiking in from the north end while ranger Justin Farley and a local volunteer hiked in from the south, traversing rugged terrain, thin ice and open water.

“This is truly an incredible survival story on the part of the snowmobilers who were able to keep moving and survive a night outdoors in these extreme elements,” said park supervisor Kasey Mahony. “The effort of our park staff is also commendable, with one ranger spending more than eight hours searching off-trail on snowshoes in exceptionally difficult weather conditions. The dedication of our staff in responding to backcountry emergencies, and their commitment to regularly completing search and rescue and emergency response training, proved instrumental in the positive outcome for these snowmobilers.”

The DNR rangers were part of a search and rescue effort coordinated by the Michigan State Police, in partnership with the Michigan Civil Air Patrol, Ontonagon County Sheriff’s Department, Ontonagon County Community Emergency Response Team, Ontonagon County Emergency Manager, U.S. Forest Service, DNR Law Enforcement Division, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard, AmericInn of Silver City, Sled Necks of Wisconsin, Sonco Ambulance, and many other local volunteers.

For snowmobile safety tips and regulations, visit www.michigan.gov/snowmobiling.

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Do’s and don’ts for snowmobilers


Snowmobilers and ORV operators are reminded to:
•    Never operate under the influence of alcohol or drugs
•    Slow down
•    Wear safety equipment such as a helmet, eye protection,
protective clothing and insulated boots and gloves
•    Always operate with the flow of traffic and stay as far to the
right side of any legal road or trail
•    Always keep a machine in top mechanical condition
•    Never ride alone and always leave a travel plan with someone
•    Avoid, when possible, operating on frozen bodies of water
•    Avoid operating in a single file when operating on frozen
bodies of water
•    Wear a winter flotation suit whenever operating on the
frozen surfaces of water
•    Always be alert and avoid fences and low strung wires
•    Always look for depressions in terrain
•    Only carry passengers when the machine is designed to do so
•    Ensure that headlights and taillights are on at all times
•    When approaching an intersection, come to a complete stop,
raise up off the seat and look for on-coming  traffic
•    Always check the weather conditions before departure
•    Bring a cell phone and other basic safety gear (something to
start a fire with, rescue throw rope, self-rescue ice spikes, tow
strap, flashlight, compass, blanket, etc.)

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