You may have been told that you're on thin ice before, but the Coast Guard is warning that that is actually a reality on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

You might still see some people out on the lake these days trying to get some ice fishing in, but the Coast Guard is warning people not to go out with them.  Keep in mind, if you fall through, not only will you be in danger, but if someone else has to rescue you from the water, you could put them in danger too.

According to WKBW, even if you see other people out on Lake Erie or Lake Ontario, it doesn't mean that it's safe to be there.  Actually, the Coast Guard is saying that it's not safe right now at all.  They say, "current ice thicknesses are far below past seasonal averages, resulting in unstable, weak ice formation and extremely hazardous conditions."

If they cannot convince you to stay off the ice, they want to remind you to at the very least be sure to wear proper clothing and bring safety equipment that could help you if you fall through.  Things like whistles and Personal Locating Beacons could help rescue teams to find you if you are alone.  Things like ice picks and screwdrivers could help you to pull yourself out.

What would you do if you did fall through the ice?  There are a couple things you should keep in mind:

  • The cold water will take your breath away.  Do your best to take a second to regain your breath before you do anything and try not to flail around too much.  Instead try to remain calm.
  • Do not take off any clothes because you think they will weigh you down.  They could hold air pockets that will help you float.
  • Try to get out of the water the way that you fell in.  That is where the ice will be strongest.
  • If you have a pick or an axe, try to pull yourself out with it.
  • If you do not, try to get as much of your body out of the water as possible.
  • Don't stand back up on the ice.  Instead, do your best to spread your weight out to avoid falling back in.

This video will show you more.


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