Thoughts and updates from Alice.
Is That Ice Safe?
Beware - Frozen Ice May Not Hold You!
Mainers are celebrating the arrival of winter after a very long and warm fall. Until the middle of January, the most snow fell in October. Currently we are enjoying two or three days of the perennial January thaw.
We love ice fishing, ice skating, walking on ice, sailing, and for some Mainers - sledding (snowmobiles) on ice. Brunswick even has a special waterway that is used for car races. However, the ice isn't always safe!
Ice skating on shallow ponds and outdoor rinks is safe early in the season. As long as you are careful not to ruin the surface by skating near 40's, you'll have a fun time. Going on a deep pond, lake, stream and river ice to ice fish, snowmobile, cross-country ski or snowshoe requires that you follow some basic guidelines.
The people in this picture are having a great day on the ice. They thought ahead and told others where they would going in case of an accident.
They have walking poles for traction, a toboggan to spread their weight and more importantly a rescuers' weight from broken ice edges. They have a throwable floating device (rectangular yellow item in front of toboggan), and a change of clothes and other emergency supplies in the big yellow bag on the tail of the toboggan.
Others were carrying some line that could be thrown to a person in trouble.
Do you know when natural ice is safe? The Maine Warden Service and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife suggests for new ice :
"General Ice Thickness Guidelines - For New, Clear Ice Only:
2" or less - STAY OFF
4" May allow Ice fishing or other activities on foot
5" often allows for Snowmobile or ATV travel
8" - 12" of good ice with supports most Cars or small pickups
12" - 15" will likely hold a Medium sized truck.
Remember that these thicknesses are merely guidelines for new, clear, solid ice. Many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe." fmi go to this link. Maine Warden Service specialty information
Do either of these look safe? These are pictures of old ice. The right one is showing a pressure ridge which should not be considered safe! Prepare and always beware.
For personalized safe winter outdoor adventures contact Alice.