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Officials remind the public to use caution on thinning Lake Superior ice

The Coast Guard recommends creating a float plan before heading onto the ice.
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 5:00 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Rising temperatures are impacting ice conditions on Lake Superior.

Last week, crowds gathered on top of the frozen lake for ice skating and other activities. Now, thinning ice has caused the lake to look much different.

According to local officials, going out onto the ice can be dangerous.

“As the weather changes and gets warmer, as the winds push the ice out, the ice conditions can change very quickly and dramatically,” said Nate Dawson, detective for the Marquette City Police.

Dawson says even thick ice can be a hazard, breaking off and getting swept away from the shore.

Even at times when temperatures have been consistently cold, DNR Deputy Public Information Officer John Pepin says to never assume the ice is secure.

“No ice is ever 100% safe, and you always need to take precautions if you’re going out onto the ice at all,” Pepin said.

According to the Coast Guard, one of the best precautions to take is creating a float plan.

“Let you significant other or whoever you can know where you’re going, what you’re planning to do, how long you’re going to be out there, stuff like that,” said Petty Officer Second Class Ernest Egan. “That way if anything happens or they don’t hear back from you, they can contact us. Then we’re going to figure out our safest and most effective way to conduct that rescue.”

Pepin also suggests being aware of which activities are safe for certain conditions.

“If you’re going out on the ice to go fishing for a day and you’re walking out there, there’s a big difference between that and driving your pickup truck out there,” said Pepin.

The DNR offers ice safety tips on its website, including testing the ice before stepping or driving onto it.

Anyone who finds themselves in a dangerous situation on the ice should call 911. Dispatchers will connect them to the Coast Guard. The public can also call the Marquette Coast Guard directly at (906) 226-3312.

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