Learning the ropes of ice safety

With the weather getting colder and people hitting the ice for winter activities, there are some safety tips to keep in mind.

Although you can’t rock your swimsuit in Michigan year round your lifejacket remains essential to outdoor fun. I’m here at Teal Lake, in Negaunee, to learn more about I.C.E.

“We want to promote the acronym called I.C.E. its Information, Clothing, and Equipment. We want you to think about what information you need to gather before you head out on the ice; upcoming weather, and possible ice conditions,” said Petty Officer Second Class Timothy Koscielny. “Talk to other fisherman that have been out, maybe you can find weak spots to avoid, and information to gather and give to family and friends so somebody else knows you’re out there just in case something happens. That way if you don’t come back when you say you’re suppose to so they know to call for help. For clothing make sure you are wearing the proper equipment so you don’t catch hypothermia, get cold, or frostbite.”

According to the Michigan DNR website clear ice with a bluish tint is the strongest and ice with a milky color is weak. The DNR also advices to assume ice covered by snow are unsafe, and walking on slush is always a bad idea.

“When you’re out there try to avoid areas around water outlets to the power plants, avoid areas with docks, or underground rocks and boulders. Anywhere it’s going to be shallow with a lot of underground vegetation; those areas are going to be a lot weaker.” Koscienly said. “Avoid going on river ice, it’s a lot weaker than when the lake freezes over and you’re not quite sure of the currents underneath. So if you do fall through you could be pulled under very easily.”

The DNR suggests you dress in bright clothing. The Coast Guard said other useful equipment would be ice picks, a screw driver, or any other tool to help pull you out of the water.

“The Coast Guard follows a one ten one rule it’s a way to know how your body is going to behave in cold water. So when you fall through the ice and hit cold water, you’re body is going to hit the gad reflex it’s going to want to inhale just from the reaction of water hitting your skin. When you do that if you can’t keep your head above water before that happens you’re going to inhale water and drown. So the first one in the one ten one to you have one minute to catch or hold your breath so you don’t inhale that water when you hit it and then you have ten minutes of meaningful movement attempt to get your body out of the water. After about ten minutes the cold water is going to affect your ability to move around.”

After about ten minutes the cold water affects your movement, if you can’t get out of the water rest your arms on the ice shelf, which allows your clothing to freeze to the ice and keep afloat.

If you’re out with someone who falls in the Coast Guard asks to call 9-1-1 immediately and stay away from the ice shelf. Then attempt to pull them out using extra fishing pole, rope, or even with verbal instructions on how to army crawl.