Winter is when you dig out your heavy coat, mittens, boots, hat, and scarf. And year after year, more and more people go out into the cold and enjoy themselves "on the water." But is the ice safe? No one should ever travel on a frozen lake, pond, river, or stream without knowing the conditions of the ice. The formation of ice can be influenced by several factors: Weather such as temperature, wind, and snow; underground springs; water quality (is it clean or polluted?); the depth of the water, and if there are any obstructions; and fish or plants. Before you venture onto the ice for your winter fun, here are some ice safety tips:

   1. Lakes and ponds do not freeze at the same thickness all over.
   2. Stay away from "stickups" such as brush, logs, plants, and docks. Heat from the sun weakens the ice around "stickups."
   3. When fishing, skating, or sledding, spread out! Crowds can add too much weight in one place.
   4. Single, unbroken pressure cracks are probably safe to walk on, but if you are not sure, stay away.
   5. Be extra careful when there is moving water. Rivers, streams, and springs wear away ice from the underneath. Ice that looks thick can be a trap waiting for you.
   6. Donít be a daredevil or show off. Use your head. If you are not sure the ice is safe, STAY OFF!

Safe Rescue

    Even if you are careful checking the ice, accidental falls through the ice do occur. Would you know what to do if your friend fell through the ice? Remember the safe rescue sequence: REACH, THROW, ROW, GO. The safest rescue to perform is to REACH with a stick, paddle, fishing pole, or even a piece of clothing. If this does not work, THROW a rope, beach ball, a PFD (personal flotation device, or life jacket), or anything that floats. If a boat is available, ROW or push it out to the victim. If none of these measures helps, GO call for help!

The Ice Thickness Support Chart depicts what thickness of ice will support what.    

ice thickness

can safely support
4 inches 200 pounds (one person and gear)
5 inches 800 pounds (one snowmobile)
7 inches 1,500 pounds (group of people)
8 inches 2,000 pounds (one car)
The official web site of the
Lake Silkworth Protective Association