Indiana Conservation Officers across the state are advising citizens of the potential hazards of being on frozen lakes, ponds, rivers and streams this winter.
Every winter, thousands of Hoosiers enjoy fishing, skating, hiking or just sliding around on frozen ponds and lakes. And every year, people drown after falling through ice. Like driving on snow, Hoosiers need to re-learn how to have safe fun on ice.
Conservation Officers want citizens to put safety first. Here are a few tips to remember when considering standing on or walking on a frozen lake or pond:
- No ice is safe ice.
- At least 4 inches of ice is recommended for safe ice fishing; 5 inches for snowmobiling.
- If you don’t know … don’t go.
- Wear lifejackets or flotation coats.
- Carry ice hooks and rope gear.
Some bodies of water will appear to be frozen solid but actually can have thin ice in several unsuspecting areas. Flowing water, such as rivers and streams, should be avoided when covered by a layer of ice. Water that is surrounded by sand many times freezes with inconsistencies.
Wind, waterfowl and beavers can also keep areas of ice thin.
Indiana Conservation Officers say the best rule of thumb is for everyone to believe they are “walking on thin ice.”