Stay safe on ice

Too hot, too cold! We hear it at home, and we hear it at the office.
Jan 15, 2013

We also hear it from Mother Nature. Apparently, even she can’t make up her mind what she wants the temperature set at.

Mother Nature’s indifference has caused local ice fishing enthusiasts to endure yet another unseasonably mild start to the winter, causing travels onto the ice to be quite dangerous.

Even with dangerously thin ice levels, some find it necessary to make their way out to their favorite jigging spot and begin spudding away in hopes of dragging the big one up through the hole.

While entertaining for some, the dangers this presents to rescue personnel when they have to go out and pull people to safety is extreme.

Experts say that a minimum of 4 inches of ice is needed to safely venture out. 

Temperature isn’t the only thing that effects ice thickness. Other factors that should be considered are the depth of the lake in which you are fishing, whether or not any current is present, and how much snow is on top of the ice. Snow will actually create an insulating effect and cause ice to weaken.

Ice fishing can be a lot of fun — and, if you know what you are doing, can be a great family event. But extreme caution and good judgment should be used at all times.

Always fish with a friend, and it’s a good idea to bring along safety precautions such as a life jacket, a length of rope, and metal spikes that will allow you to dig into the ice and drag yourself to safety in the event that you fall through.

It’s better to be safe than wet.

Click here for information from the U.S. Coast Guard about cold water and ice safety.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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