Coast Guard urges caution during ice activities amid warmer temperatures

Harold Truax

DETROIT, Mich. (WIVB) – The Coast Guard is warning ice fishers and snowmobile, ATV, and four-wheeler operators of unstable ice conditions amid warming air temperatures.

Coast Guard stations from western Lake Erie to Saginaw Bay responded to four separate ice rescue cases Wednesday evening alone. The rescues involved outdoorspeople who became disoriented or were caught on broken-off ice floes.

The Coast Guard asks people to remember the acronym I.C.E. (Information, Clothing, Equipment) when engaging in recreational activities on or around the ice.

  •  Know the current and projected weather forecast. Stay off the ice in extreme fog conditions.
  •  Tell a friend or loved one where you are going and the path of travel you will use to get there. Bring navigational equipment with you, such as GPS and a compass to avoid becoming disoriented. If you find yourself in heavy fog or low visibility, do not divert from your planned path of travel. Coast Guard crews will start their search with your known path of travel provided by the person who reports you as overdue.
  •  Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature and wear a life jacket as a precaution in case you fall through.
  • Take the appropriate communication equipment with you, like a VHF-FM radio, flares, signaling equipment, lanterns, whistle or a personal locator beacon.
  • Carry ice picks, screwdrivers or similar tools that you can use to pull yourself out should you fall through the ice. Simple tools like these can save your life in icy waters where every minute counts.
  •  Cell phones can be unreliable offshore and have limited battery power; especially in cold weather. If you do bring your phone, know how to obtain the GPS position from it, to provide to responders in the event of disorientation. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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