Ice Safely for Ponds and Lakes

By Robert Robillard on Home And Personal Safety



Ice Safety – Enjoying Your Time On The Ice

Last month I heard of several people falling through the ice. Two people in Massachusetts recently fell through ice and died.  This article will focus on ice safety and educate you on the proper thickness ice needs to be.

My son has a friend who lives on a pond and they are always playing and skating on the pond ice.  This and the news above made me curious and motivated me to find out what is considered “safe ice?”

No matter what you are planning to do on the ice – like fishing, snowmobiling, skating or just walking, it’s important to do some checking yourself before you go out on it.

Several factors affect the safety of ice, such as temperature, snow cover and currents. A very important factor is the actual ice thickness.

Checking the thickness of the ice:

There are many ways to do this but being a carpenter, you guessed it, I’m going to check the ice using carpentry tools.

With a cordless drill and a long, 8′ wood auger bit, you can drill through eight inches of ice quickly.

Use a 1/2″ or slightly larger bit.

It’s important to use a wood auger bit since they have a spiral called a “flute” around the shaft that will pull the ice chips out of the hole and help keep it from getting stuck, similar to how an ice auger works.

Pics and Source:

Ice Thickness Rules of Thumb:

*  2 inches – STAY OFF
*  4 inches of ice for a walking individual
*  6 inches of ice for a snowmobile or ATV
*  8-12 inches of ice for a car or small pickup
*  12-15 inches of ice for a medium pickup truck.

What if you fall in?

1. Try not to panic.

2. Turn toward the direction you came.

3. The safest place to pull yourself back up on the ice is the last place you stepped before you went through the ice.

4. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface of the ice.

5. Work your way up by kicking your feet.

6. Once you are lying on the ice, roll away from the weak or broken ice, don’t attempt to stand up.
What if my friend falls through thin ice?

1. Keep calm, have a plan.

2. Do not run out to assist the victim. You can go from rescuer to victim in a short second.

3. Reach the victim with a long pole, board, rope, blanket or cables.

4. Throw the victim a life jacket, empty water jug, or other buoyant object.

5. Build a human chain in which rescuers lie on the ice with each person grasping the feet of the person in front.


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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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