Falling through thin ice kills many people every year. Knowing the
conditions and thickness of the ice can save your life or the life of
someone close. Anglers and ice fishers rely on it during winter to
support their entire fishing site. Sometimes houses can be pulled onto
the ice for shelter. In these situations knowledge of ice thickness
will definitely save your life.

Beware of snow covered ice because the snow insulates the ice which
prevents solid ice creation. Snow covered ice also makes it difficult
to accurately check thickness. Stay away from cracks, pressure ridges,
slushy, cracked or darker areas. Ice that forms around partially
submerged objects such as trees, brush, embankments is usually thinner
and prone to breaking.

It is always a good idea for ice fishers and anglers to drill test
holes as they go further out onto the lake. This is because ice can
vary in thickness from one part of the lake to the other. Daily
changes in temperature can cause ice to contract and expand so be sure
to ask around in bait shops or with locals before you venture out.

There is a guide to know how thick the ice has to be before you set
out. Four inches of ice is okay for a group of people walking
single file, six inches for snowmobiles and ATV's, twelve inches for an
automobile and fifteen inches for a pickup truck or SUV. During the
early winter it is advised to double these figures.

When you are not sure of the ice you should also be wearing a personal
floatation device and carry a cellphone. A set of ice picks to pull
yourself onto the ice will come in handy if you fall through.

If someone falls through be sure to act quickly by calling 911 or the
equivalent in your area. Never go near the victim that has fallen
through the ice. Try to reach the victim with a long pole, a rope, or
something long. If you can't do that, throw the victim a life jacket or
any kind of buoyant object that you can find. Only go to the victim if
you can't do any thing else, do this by forming a human chain where
everyone lies down and grabs the person in fronts ankles.

During winter conditions, hypothermia can set in very quickly. You can
treat this by removing the victims wet clothing and replacing it with
dry clothing. If you have one available, you can put the victim in a
sleeping bag. Immediately take them to the hospital for further

With this knowledge you can have a safer trip and possibly save
someones life in the process.

Author's Bio: 

Justin G is an oudoors enthusiast with a love of icefishing and nature in general. You can find his icefishing website at http://www.lakeicefishing.com