Tag Archives: Ice Safety

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.

 

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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.


 

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Anglers: Put Safety First When Ice Fishing

Anglers: Put Safety First When Ice Fishing

A Minimum of Four Inches of Clear Ice is Safe for Anglers on Foot!

Anglers: Put Safety First When Ice Fishing

Lake Champlain Ice Fishing Perch and Panfish

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminds ice anglers to use caution and common sense during ice fishing season.Four inches or more of solid ice is considered to be safe for anglers accessing ice on foot. Ice anglers should note that ice thickness can vary on every body of water and even on the same body of water.

“Ice fishing is a popular sport in New York and interest in it increases every year,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Safety is the first thing to consider when taking part in the sport, and we remind people to use good judgement when venturing onto the ice. Ice fishing is great for families looking to try something new, and parents can mix in skating, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or other activities during ice fishing trips to keep everyone interested and happy.”

Anglers should be particularly wary of areas of moving water and around boat docks and houses where bubblers may be installed to reduce ice buildup. The presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be considered as evidence of safe ice conditions. Individuals are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk. Testing the thickness of ice can be done easily with an auger or ice spud at various spots.

 

Anglers: Put Safety First When Ice Fishing
Lake Champlain Ice Fishing: Northern Pike

 

As part of New York Governor Cuomo’s “NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative”, Feb. 18 and 19 have been designated as a free fishing weekend. The requirement for a fishing license is waived during this period. The free fishing weekend is a great opportunity to try ice fishing for the first time and for experienced anglers to introduce their friends to the sport. Beginning ice anglers are encouraged to download the Ice Fishing Chapter of DEC’s new I FISH NY Beginners’ Guide to Freshwater Fishing for information on how to get started ice fishing.

Additional information, including a list of waters open to ice fishing, can found on the DEC ice fishing web page and the Public Lakes and Ponds map.

The use of fish for bait is popular when ice fishing, and bait fish may be used in most, but not all, waters open to ice fishing. Visit the DEC website for a list of Special Regulations by County to find out where bait fish can and cannot be used, and for other regulations that apply to baitfish available on DEC’s website.

Anglers are reminded to take these important steps when using baitfish while ice fishing:

  • Follow the bait fish regulations to prevent the spread of harmful fish diseases and invasive species (please see: Special Regulations by County).
  • Use only certified disease-free bait fish purchased at a local tackle store, or use only personally collected bait fish for use in the same water body in which they were caught.
  • Do not reuse baitfish in another water-body if the water the fish were purchased in has not been replaced.
  • Dump unused baitfish and water in an appropriate location on dry land.

Anglers are reminded to make sure that they have a valid fishing license before heading out on the ice during non-free fishing weekends. Fishing licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. To learn more, visit DEC’s Sporting Licenses webpage.

 

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Vermont Fish & Wildlife Urges Extra Caution on the Ice

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Urges Extra Caution on the Ice

Anyone venturing onto the ice for ice fishing or other activities is urged to exercise extra caution on the ice by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

January’s warmer weather has deteriorated ice on lakes, ponds and rivers throughout the state, including those in northern Vermont according to State Game Warden Jenna Reed.

“Lake Memphremagog has pressure cracks throughout the lake,” said Reed. “The ones near the Canadian Border and Strawberry Acres have had multiple vehicles break through due to the large cracks and thin ice, and some pressure cracks are submerged and difficult to see. Please use extreme caution out on the lake. Driving a vehicle onto the ice is dangerous and not recommended.”

 

Coast Guardsmen Practice Ice Rescue Procedures in Burlington Bay

On January 26, Warden Michael Scott pulled fisherman Richard Leblanc, 62, of Orleans from Lake Willoughby shortly after receiving a 911 call. CPR efforts by Warden Scott and first-responders were not successful.

Fish & Wildlife also reports anglers fell through the ice and at Shelburne Pond and Waterbury Reservoir last week, but they were able to get out safely.

 

“We are urging all outdoor enthusiasts 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.”

Ice Safety Tips

• Leave your car or truck on shore. Every year several motor vehicles go through the ice on Vermont lakes, and several people have drowned as a result.

• Leave information about your plans with someone — where you intend to fish and when you expect to return.

• Wear a personal flotation device and don’t fish alone.

• 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.

• Ice varies in thickness and condition. Always carry an ice spud or chisel to check ice as you go.

• Be extremely cautious crossing ice near river mouths, points of land, bridges, islands, and over reefs and springs. Current almost always causes ice to thin over these areas.

• Avoid going on the ice if it has melted away from the shore. This indicates melting is underway, and ice can shift position as wind direction changes.

• 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!

• Bring your fully charged cell phone with you.

• Carry a set of hand spikes to help you work your way 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.

• Carry a safety line to throw to someone who has gone through the ice.

• Heated 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.

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