U.S. Coast Guard warns of weakening ice

MARQUETTE — When the mercury rises, many take to the outdoors to enjoy the warm sun they’ve been missing for the past several months. That warm sun has consequences for Great Lakes ice cover and the safety of those who venture onto the ice.

The U.S. Coast Guard is urging people to exercise extreme caution on Great Lakes waterways given the current rise in temperatures.

“The weather’s been really wishy-washy lately. It’s been warmer temperatures than normal, so we suggest to stay off the ice or just be very safe when you do go on the ice, because you don’t know if it’s going to be strong,” said Olivia Hurn, a Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class at the Marquette U.S. Coast Guard station. “You don’t know if it’s going to be weak. You can’t tell just because of the weather.”

Those who do plan to enjoy the warmer days on the ice should be prepared with emergency equipment, information about weather and ice conditions, and a buddy in tow. In addition to wearing a life jacket, ice explorers should don appropriate items of clothing.

“Always dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature,” Hurn added. “The water definitely robs your body of heat way quicker than the air does, so just prepare for that.”

A personal locator beacon, visual distress signals, and a whistle all improve safety when traversing the ice. The Coast Guard would like the public to remember that no ice is safe ice.