DNR officials provide safety tips as Minnesota waterways begin to freeze over
Members of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) gave reminders about walking on frozen waterways this winter during a news conference on Friday.
Officials discussed current ice conditions across the state and provided information about how anglers and others can stay safe on and around the ice at Como Lake in St. Paul, where DNR officials said close to shore, there was about 3.5 inches of ice.
The DNR adds there have been multiple instances of people walking onto the ice already and reminds everyone to stay on shore until there are at least four inches of new and clear ice, especially with no snow cover. In addition, safety officials say you shouldn’t rely on the footprints of other people, tracks or social media posts.
In addition, at least five to seven inches of ice are needed for a snowmobile or small all-terrain vehicle travel and seven to eight inches are needed for a larger side-by-side ATV. Meanwhile, a small car or SUV needs at least nine or 10 inches of ice.
Although ice may be safe one day, weather conditions can cause the safeness of ice to change daily. In addition, you should always measure ice thickness yourself and not assume people who are already on the ice did measure for safety.
If you see an animal stranded on the ice, you’re reminded to call authorities to help wildlife or pets, since they have training and equipment to do so.
The following tips from the DNR can help you stay safe on the ice:
- Wear a life jacket or float coat on the ice.
- Carry ice picks, rope, a tape measure and an ice chisel. Ice picks and safety devices should be kept – or worn – in the same place each time so you don’t have to think about where they are if you fall through the ice.
- Check ice thickness at regular intervals, since conditions can change.
- Bring a phone, whistle or personal locator beacon.
- Don’t go out alone and always notify someone of where you plan to travel and when you plan to return.
- Ask about conditions and known hazards with local experts.
- Parents and guardians should tell their kids, as well as other children in their neighborhood, to stay away from the ice unless they’re being supervised by an adult.
State officials remind everyone that ice is never considered 100% safe. CLICK HERE for additional ice safety tips. Additional information about the danger of being in cold water can be found by CLICKING HERE.