Staying safe while on the ice

New York News

(NEWS10) — Ice fishing season has arrived for Upstate New York, and my anglers will look to take to the lakes during the peak season. But with warmer temperatures and mixed weather conditions, it remains imperative to keep safety in mind when venturing out onto open bodies of water.

“If you hit this water, in two to three minutes you are going to be unable to crawl out,” Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giaradino said.

With winter in full swing, New Yorkers are beginning to venture onto the ice to enjoy winter sports like snowmobiling and ice fishing, but it can sometimes be challenging to know when it is safe to go out on the water. According to Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giaradino, having a solid base of ice underneath you is a main concern when planning your trip.

“Two inches you can walk on, I don’t recommend it,” he said. “I have been on two inches before and heard it crack.  We like four to six inches as a solid base. That way sleds can go across and people can go ice fishing without a problem.”

New York is home to more than 7,000 lakes, ponds and reservoirs for winter activities. But no matter the weather, Hudson Water Black River Regulating District Exec. Dir. John Callaghan said there are consistent tips to help keep you safe.

“One of the simple things you can do when you are going to go out and recreate on a body of water is just what you would do during the summertime from a boating standpoint,” he said. “Make sure people know where you are, don’t go out by yourself, be aware of your conditions, and most importantly, be safe.”

Callaghan also warned of various hazards such as ice heaves and pressure ridges.

“So with a storage reservoir like the Great Sacandaga Lake, the important thing to remember is that it is typically either increasing in elevation or decreasing in elevation, so what you’re going to see is the creation of pressure ridges in the ice and you could see a lot of variability in the thickness of the ice,” he explained. “That’s another reason it’s so important to make sure you know the conditions and never go out on the ice alone.”


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