Knowing Ice Thickness |

Knowing Ice Thickness

Knowing Ice Thickness

Sabrina Ullman
Created: November 04, 2021 05:34 PM

With the dropping temperatures, many Northlanders are anxious to get out and enjoy winter fun.  Whether it's ice fishing, cross country skiing, or hopping on a snowmobile, it is very important to know the thickness of the ice before crossing area lakes and ponds.

If the ice is two inches thick or less, keep off! Four inch thick ice is strong enough for ice fishing, while five to six inches is needed for snowmobiles and ATVs. Cars and small trucks need the ice to be 8-12 inches thick, and medium-sized trucks and anything larger need at least a foot of ice thickness. 

While there is no such thing as safe ice, the strongest ice is clear or blue. Gray ice should be avoided. Ice is not uniform across a body of water, so even if it is thick enough in one area, it may be too thin elsewhere. 

If you park on the ice, park each vehicle at least 50 feet apart and move every two hours to prevent any vehicles from falling through. 

The buddy system is always a good idea when going on ice, just in case you were to fall through. If this happens, you have 2-5 minutes before the cold begins to affect you. To get to safety, kick your legs, grasp for nearby ice, get yourself horizontal onto the ice, and roll toward safer ice.  Once out, get to a warm shelter immediately before hypothermia sets in.


Sabrina Ullman

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