How to stay safe on ice during a mild winter

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 7:50 PM EST
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NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - As wintry conditions lag behind in the UP, outdoor activities can become hazardous.

Some parts of ice can be more shallow than others and Deputy Public Information officer of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), John Pepin, said there’s no reliable “inch-thickness” for ice.

However, ice with a blue-ish tint can be considered stronger and darker, slushy ice can be considered unstable.

Before going out on the ice, Pepin and 35 year ice fisherman Eric Pellinen said the first thing to do when on ice is to test it.

To do so, use a spud, needle bar or auger to drill through the ice. Then use a measuring tape to measure the thickness of the ice.

Pellinen said three to four inch thickness is standard for a snowmobile or four wheeler ride on the ice. He said eight to ten inches are best for a pick-up truck.

This past weekend one man drove his golf cart on ice at Indian lake in Manistique. He and his golf cart fell through the ice. Bystanders said the ice was only three-quarter inches thick.

Pepin gave tips on what to do if you find yourself in this situation.

“Some people put nails on each end of a string and put them through their coat sleeves,” Pepin said. “So, if you do fall through the ice and try to pull yourself out, you can dig them in to the snow or ice to try and help get yourself away from the ice.”

Snow can also play a role in ice safety.

“Snow can act as an insulator for the ice and making it less stable underneath,” Pepin said.

So, be aware this weekend as snowflakes trickle into the UP and remember to stay safe!

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