Ice Safety

Frozen Pond Surrounded by Snow
  1. Facts
  2. Safety Tips
  3. Ice Strength
  4. Falling Through Ice

Some Cold Facts About Ice

  • New ice is usually stronger than old ice. Four inches of clear, newly formed ice may support one person on foot, while a foot or more of old, partially thawed ice may not.
  • Ice seldom freezes uniformly. It may be a foot thick in one location and only an inch or two just a few feet away.
  • Ice formed over flowing water and currents is often dangerous. This is especially true near streams, bridges and culverts. Also, the ice on outside river bends is usually weaker due to the undermining effects of the faster current.
  • The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process. The extra weight also reduces how much weight the ice sheet can support. Also, ice near shore can be weaker than ice that is farther out.
  • Booming and cracking ice isn’t necessarily dangerous. It only means that the ice is expanding and contracting as the temperature changes.
  • Schools of fish or flocks of waterfowl can also adversely affect the relative safety of ice. The movement of fish can bring warm water up from the bottom of the lake. In the past, this has opened holes in the ice causing snowmobiles and cars to break through.
  • It takes at least 5 to 7 days of temperatures in the low 20’s before ice may become safe.
  • Ice Safety Programs: May be available through your local city or town public safety office or fire department.
  • Remember: Safe Ice is found at my local Ice Rink. Safe outdoor skating must have adult supervision.