DNR conservation wardens offer these top 13 safety tips for 2013 to the ice fishing enthusiasts and other outdoor fans anxious to get on the early season ice which may not be as thick as it looks.

Recreation Safety Chief Todd Schaller reminds all that ice is never predictable – especially after that first cold night and the ice starts forming.

Schaller urges fishers and outdoor enthusiasts to review these safety tips before they grab their gear or take off on a walk. “Let’s make sure your first outing isn’t your last,” Schaller says. “And take the time to educate your children about the dangers associated with frozen ponds, lakes and rivers.”

Schaller offers these other tips for staying safe this season:

  • Always remember that ice is never completely safe under any conditions.
  • Fish or walk with a friend. It’s safer and more fun.
  • Contact local sport shops to ask about ice conditions on the lake or river you want to fish.
  • Carry a cell phone, and let people know where you are going and when you’ll return home.
  • Wear proper clothing and equipment, including a life jacket or a float coat to help you stay afloat and to help slow body heat loss.
  • Wear creepers attached to boots to prevent slipping on clear ice.
  • Carry a spud bar to check the ice while walking to new areas.
  • Carry a couple of spikes and a length of light rope in an easily accessible pocket to help pull yourself – or others – out of the ice.
  • Do not travel in unfamiliar areas — or at night.
  • Know if the lake has inlets, outlets or narrows that have currents that can thin the ice.
  • Look for clear ice. Clear ice is generally stronger than ice with air bubbles in it or with snow on it.
  • Watch out for pressure ridges or ice heaves. These can be dangerous due to thin ice and open water.
  • Take extra mittens or gloves so you always have a dry pair.
  • Driving on ice is always a risk. Use good judgment and consider alternatives.

“Because of its unstable condition and unpredictability, anyone who travels on frozen lakes and rivers is taking a risk, and should use caution,” Schaller says.

Want more information? Please visit this web site: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/OutdoorRecreation/activities/iceSafety.html.

Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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