Minnesota DNR Warns of Thin Ice: ‘There Have Been A Lot of Close Calls’
If there’s one positive to the pandemic: it’s more people getting outside and experiencing nature. That includes more people fishing. But there’s a warning that comes with it this time of year. The Minnesota DNR shared a few tips at Medicine Lake in Plymouth to make sure that you stay safe if you go out on the ice this winter.
“There’s so many options for buoyant gear, whether it’s a life jacket, which is actually keeping me quite warm today in this cold,” said Lisa Dugan, a recreation safety coordinator for the Minnesota DNR. “Float coats are available, there’s buoyant snow pants. So have a piece of buoyant gear before heading out on the ice. And then I also have ice picks with me. These should help should you fall through to pull yourself up.”
The DNR held a news conference Friday morning to send a message that says even though it’s December, not all ice across the state is safe.
Experts recommend people bring a chisel and a tape measure to check the ice thickness.
You need at least 4 inches of clear, solid ice before stepping foot on it. If you’re planning to use a snowmobile or ATV, you want at least five to seven inches.
However, the DNR stresses that there’s risk involved every time people venture onto frozen water.
“There have luckily been no fatalities on the ice this year, but there have been a lot of very close calls, a lot of scary situations,” Dugan said. “And a lot of those happen when people are pushing the ice too early and heading out much too early.”
For a full list of ways on how to stay safe on the ice, the DNR has a list on its ice safety page.