Ice conditions remain unsafe: MI

Article Posted: January 14, 2003

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Ice conditions remain unsafe

In the wake of several ice-related accidents throughout Michigan over the weekend, state officials today reminded residents that safety should be a top priority for everyone enjoying outdoor recreation on frozen lakes and rivers.

Several snowmobilers and ice anglers fell through ice on various bodies of water throughout the state over the weekend. Michigan State Police confirmed the following fatalities:

* Two snowmobilers on Long Lake in Traverse County, Jan. 9

* One ice angler on Long Lake, Jan. 11

* Two snowmobilers on Houghton Lake in Roscommon County, Jan. 12

Those planning outings on frozen waterways during the coming weeks are urged to exercise extreme caution. Recent weather trends have created unpredictable ice on most Michigan waters. The following guidelines can help keep outdoor enthusiasts safe and dry:

* Four inches of ice will generally hold an average-sized person on foot. Snowmobiles and ORVs need at least eight inches of solid, consistent ice.

* Ice does not form with uniform thickness on any body of water. Underwater springs or currents can wear thin spots on any body of water.

* Clear ice is the strongest. Ice formed by melted and refrozen snow appears milky, is very porous and very weak. Ice covered by snow should always be presumed unsafe.

Those traveling on ice are encouraged to check with local law enforcement or DNR officials regarding ice conditions before heading onto unfamiliar water. Snowmobilers should avoid riding single-file across frozen water. Ice anglers should use their augers to check ice thickness periodically as they venture out. Everyone traversing on ice should wear a life jacket.

“We want everyone to enjoy the outdoor recreation opportunities Michigan has to offer,” said DNR Law Division Chief Richard Asher. “But part of enjoying Michigan winters is recognizing potential dangers and taking responsible precautions. We urge everyone to make safety a top priority.”

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