By Grace Jacobson / News Director
With ice forming on some bodies of water in Minnesota and numerous ice anglers already testing their luck, the Minnesota DNR wants to remind everyone to stay on the shore until there is at least four inches of new, clear ice.
Ice conditions this time of year are highly variable and can change quickly.
While four inches of new, clear ice is the minimum recommended thickness for walking, it takes at least five to seven inches to hold a snowmobile or small ATV; seven to eight inches for a larger, side-by-side ATV; and nine to ten inches for a small car or SUV.
Safety officials stress the importance of anyone heading onto the ice to check its thickness for themselves and not rely on other people’s footprints, tracks or social media posts.
Regardless of those recommendations, the DNR says no ice can ever be considered “safe ice.” To help minimize the risk of ice-related incidents, follow these guidelines:
- Always wear a life jacket or float coat on the ice (except when in a vehicle).
- Carry ice picks, rope, an ice chisel and tape measure.
- Check ice thickness at regular intervals; conditions can change quickly.
- Bring a cell phone or personal locator beacon.
- Don’t go out alone; let someone know about trip plans and expected return time.
- Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts.
- Parents and guardians should talk with their children and neighborhood children about staying away from the ice unless there’s adult supervision. This includes lakes and rivers, as well as neighborhood ponds, retention ponds and anywhere ice forms.