Category Archives: Safety

Safety on and about Lake Champlain

New York DEC Advises About Poor Ice Conditions

New York DEC Advises Ice Anglers and Others About Poor Ice Conditions

Ice anglers and others thinking of traversing the frozen surface of waters in the Adirondacks and other locations should be aware that due to the recent warm temperatures and rain, ice has thinned.

 

New York DEC Advises Ice Anglers and Others About Poor Ice Conditions

Areas of ice around inlets, outlets and shorelines of largely open water or thin ice should be avoided. Rivers, streams and most channels of moving water through lakes and ponds are also open or covered with thin ice and should be avoided.

Ice near boathouses and docks, especially those using “bubblers” or other ice prevention devices, should also be avoided. Motor vehicles, snowmobiles and ATVs should not be taken on any ice at this time.

No ice should be considered safe without checking the thickness and condition of the ice first.

If you plan to go on the ice, be safe on the ice.

 

Other Lake Champlain Ice Fishing Articles:

Lake Champlain Ice Safety

Lake Champlain Ice Safety

Lake Champlain Ice Safety

Skating on Lake Champlain

There are many activities that you can enjoy on Lake Champlain in the winter.  From ice fishing to cross-country skiing, from snowmobiling to skating or kite-boarding – Lake Champlain offers a wealth of outdoor fun to enjoy safely. Here are some simple things to help keep your outing fun and safe.

 

Important Ice Facts

  • New ice is usually stronger than old ice. Four inches of clear, newly formed ice may support one single person on foot, while a foot or more of old, partially thawed ice might not.
  • Ice rarely freezes uniformly. It might be a foot thick in one place and only an inch or two just a few feet away.
  • Ice formed over flowing water and currents is often dangerous. This is especially true near streams, bridges and culverts. Also, the ice outside river bends is usually weaker due to the undermining effects of the faster current.
  • The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process. The extra weight can also cut the amount of weight that the ice sheet can support. Also be aware that the ice near shore can be considerably weaker than ice that is farther out.
  • Booming and cracking ice isn’t necessarily dangerous. It only means that the ice is expanding and contracting as the temperature changes.
  • Schools of fish or flocks of waterfowl can also affect the relative safety of ice. The movement of fish can bring warm water up from the bottom of the lake. In the past, this has opened holes in the ice causing snowmobiles and cars to break through.

 

Lake Champlain Ice Safety

Ice Thickness Safety Chart (courtesy of the Lake Champlain Committee)

Recommended Minimum Ice Thickness

2″ or less – STAY OFF
4″ – Ice fishing, skiing, skating or other activities on foot
5″ – Snowmobile or ATV
8″ – 12″ – Car or small pickup
12″ – 15″ – Medium truck
Note: These guidelines are for new, clear solid ice.

There are many other factors than thickness that can make ice unsafe.

* White ice or “snow ice” is only about half as strong as new clear ice. Double the above thickness guidelines when traveling on white ice.

SAFETY TIPS FOR TRAVELING ON ICE

The following guidelines can help you make wise choices:

  • Ice Chisel or spud

    Test the thickness yourself using an ice chisel or spud, an ice auger or even a cordless 1/4 inch drill with a long bit.

  • Avoid driving on ice when possible. If you must drive a vehicle, be ready to leave it in a hurry – keep the windows down and have a simple emergency plan of action that you’ve discussed with your passengers.
  • Refrain from alcoholic beverages. Even a couple of beers are enough to cause a careless error in judgment that could cost you your life. And contrary to common belief, alcohol actually makes you colder and doesn’t warm you up.
  • Don’t “overdrive” your snowmobile’s headlight. At 30 miles per hour, it can take a longer distance to stop on ice than your headlight shines. Many fatal snowmobile through-the-ice accidents occur because the machine was traveling too fast for the operator to stop when the headlamp illuminated a hole in the ice.
  • Ice Picks

    Always bring two ice picks and wear them around your neck so that they are within quick reach. The ice picks really help pulling yourself back onto solid ice. It’s amazing how difficult it is to pull yourself back on the surface of wet, slippery ice while you’re wearing a snowmobile suit weighted down with 60 lbs of water.

  • Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) under your winter gear. Or wear one of the new flotation snowmobile suits. Note: Do not wear a PFD when traveling across the ice in an enclosed vehicle.

 

Now, you’re ready to go. Get out on the ice and enjoy the Lake Champlain ice safely.


 

Other Lake Champlain Ice Fishing Articles:

Essential Ice Fishing Safety Gear

Essential Ice Fishing Safety Gear

With the arrival of winter, Lake Champlain’s hard water anglers have brought their ice augers out of storage. Before you bundle up and head out on the ice, review this checklist of essential ice fishing safety gear so your trip is fun and safe.

 

1. Ice cleats or creepers.

Ice cleats or creepers attach to the bottom of your boots. They can have adjustable straps or be rubber overshoes with metal teeth or spikes. They  provide more traction on slippery ice and can help to prevent falls.

 

2. Ice chisel or spud


An ice chisel or spud is a long-handled blade that comes to a point on one side. You use an ice chisel to punch a hole through the ice before you take a step. This helps you to check the ice thickness.

 

 

3. Ice safety picks.

Ice safety picks are two spikes that are usually connected by a cord. The ice picks are stuck into the ice and used to pull you back onto the ice if you happen to fall through. Always bring two ice picks and wear them around your neck so that they are within quick reach.

 

4. Floating rescue rope.

A floating rescue rope can be used if someone falls through the ice. You can help them by throwing the rope to them from a safe distance. If you should fall through, throw one end of the floating rope to a rescuer.

 

 

5. Ice fishing suit.

Many ice anglers wear ice fishing suits or flotation suits to help to keep them warm, but the suits can also make it easier for you to climb out if you fall through the ice.

 

 

6. Hat.

When spending cold days outdoors on the ice, a significant amount of body heat can be lost through the head. A thick hat that covers your ears is important to help keep body heat.

 

7. Mittens.

Mittens keep your hands warmer than gloves because they trap more body heat. If you wear base layer gloves underneath your mittens, you can just take your mittens off and still have your fingers free when you need to tie lines or take a fish off of a hook.

 

8. Hand warmers.

Hand warmers are a good way to help keep your hands warm during ice fishing season. Buy a pair of hand warmers to put into the pockets of your jacket or inside of your gloves.

 

 

9. Sunglasses.

The reflection of the sun’s rays off of the snow and ice is very hard on the eyes. Make sure you have a good pair of sunglasses that block at least 99% of UVB rays and a minimum of 95% of UVA rays.

 

10. Cell phone or radio.

You will need to have a cell phone or radio to make calls for help in the event of an emergency. If you plan to fish in a remote area, make sure you have a radio in case your cell phone won’t work. Pack cell phones and radios in sealed, moisture-proof bags.

 

11. PFD.

You wouldn’t want to leave the dock without a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD) in the summer months, and winter shouldn’t be any different. Always bring a life jacket or personal flotation device with you when ice fishing.

 

 

Now, you’ve got your gear ready to go. Get out on the ice and enjoy your ice fishing safely.


 

Other Lake Champlain Ice Fishing Articles:

12 Ice Safety Tips From Vermont Fish & Wildlife

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Offers 12 Ice Safety Tips

12 Ice Safety Tips From Vermont Fish & Wildlife
Recent cold temperatures have formed early season ice on Vermont ponds, lakes and rivers. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reminds winter enthusiasts that ice should never be considered safe and ice conditions vary.

“We are urging all outdoor enthusiasts – people going ice fishing, cross-country skiers, hikers, and snowmobilers — to be extremely cautious and prepared if they are going to venture out on any ice,” said Vermont Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter. “Ice conditions can vary dramatically on different parts of a lake. Remember, even though it may look thick enough on the surface, moving water from currents, rivers and springs can cause ice to form unevenly.”

12 Ice Safety Tips From Vermont Fish & Wildlife. Ice fishing for perch

Lake Champlain Ice Fishing for Perch and Panfish

 

“Once we have sustained cold weather to form good ice, activities such as ice fishing can be safe and a lot of fun,” said Porter, “but when we go onto the ice, we need to use good judgment and observe several safety precautions.”

12 Ice Safety Tips

  1. Leave your car or truck on shore. Every year several motor vehicles go through the ice on Vermont lakes, and some people have drowned as a result.
  2. Leave information about your plans with someone — where you intend to fish and when you expect to return.
  3. Wear a personal flotation device and don’t fish alone.
  4. Fish with a friend. Ice fishing is a great sport to share with family members and friends, and having a partner with you increases both the fun and the safety.
  5. Ice varies in thickness and condition. Always carry an ice spud or chisel to check the ice as you go forward.
  6. 12 Ice Safety Tips From Vermont Fish & WildlifeBe extremely cautious crossing ice near river mouths, points of land, bridges, islands, and over reefs and springs. Current will almost always cause the ice to be thinner over these areas.
  7. Avoid going onto the ice if it has melted away from the shore. This indicates melting is underway, and ice can shift its position as wind direction changes.
  8. Waves from open water can quickly break up large areas of ice. If you can see open water in the lake and the wind picks up, get off!
  9. Bring your fully charged cell phone with you.
  10. Carry a set of hand spikes to help you work your way out onto the surface of the ice if you go through. Holding one in each hand, you can alternately punch them into the ice and pull yourself up and out. You can make these at home, using large nails, or you can buy them at stores that sell fishing supplies.
  11. Carry a safety line to throw to someone who has gone through the ice
  12. 12 Ice Safety Tips From Vermont Fish & Wildlife. Ice fishing shantiesHeated fishing shanties must have good ventilation to prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Open a window or the door part way to allow in fresh air.

 

For guidelines on ice thickness and safety visit Ice Safety.

 

 

Other Lake Champlain Ice Fishing Articles: