MARQUETTE — The unseasonable weather has kept the ice off Lake Superior so far this year, but it’s never too early to think about ice safety.
U.S. Coast Guard personnel at the Marquette station are reminding citizens how to stay safe when the ice does make its way back into the area. One of the best tools to remember how to be properly prepared is the acronym “I.C.E.”
“I.C.E. stands for information, clothing, and equipment,” said Boatswain’s Mate Second Class Timothy Koscielny at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Marquette. “So information you want to gather before going out on the ice is the weather — even for the past week — and upcoming weather. [For] clothing, you want to make sure that it’s bright in color. That way it makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. You need to make sure that it’s going to be warm. Think about if you do fall in the ice; is that clothing going to keep you warm in the water? [For] equipment, we’re looking to try to enforce and make sure people keep life jackets with them, [and] preferably wear them on the ice.”
Carrying ice picks or screwdrivers can help get a grip on the ice in an emergency situation. Whistles, flares, marine radios, and personal locator beacons are all important tools that could help rescuers locate a lost boater or ice adventurer.
One of the keys to staying safe is being aware of potentially hazardous surroundings.
“When ice does form and you do get those warm days, people tend to set up ice shanties still, and they’ll still be sitting in their shanty when there’s a puddle of water essentially sitting on the ice ten feet from them,” added Koscielny. “Signs of weak ice could be that puddle.”
Citizens are encouraged to call their local Coast Guard station if they have any questions about equipment or other ice safety precautions.