Posted by: Kelley Dees | December 23, 2010

Ice Safety

We’ve already talked about winter weather safety. Today, we’re going to talk about safety regarding ice, and not ice on the roads, but ice from ponds and lakes in the region. Many have questions about when it’s safe to go out on the ice. There are many old wives’ tales about how long the temperature has been below freezing or how much snow has fallen, but don’t rely on those! Depending on the depth of a lake and how much new water flows into it daily, some lakes may never be safe to go on! Here are some tips from North Dakota that may help us better understand the rules about ice:

  • 2 inches–STAY OFF
  • 4 inches–good enough for a walking individual
  • 6 inches–enough ice for a snowmobile or ATV
  • 8 to 12 inches–enough ice for a car or small pickup
  • 12 to 15 inches–enough ice for a medium pickup truck

Before going onto a frozen lake, pond, or river, it’s important to take safety precautions to reduce the risk of falling through the ice.

Knowing how to judge ice conditions will also help you make more informed decisions while enjoying your outing. New ice is almost always stronger than old ice, so look for clear blue ice. Remember that you are taking a risk anytime you go onto the ice because thickness is not consistent. Be extra careful on ice around partially submerged objects, such as trees, brush, embankments, or structures. Ice does not form as quickly where water is shallow or around objects that may absorb sunlight.

When going near the ice, always carry a safety kit that includes:

  • Ice chisel that you can use to check the thickness of the ice as you move out onto the ice
  • Ice picks or a set of screwdrivers that you can use to pull yourself back on the ice
  • Cell phone to call for assistance

For more information on safety around ice, such as what to do when someone falls through the ice, what to do if you fall in, or rules for driving near or on ice, check out the brochure here from North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

This information is provided courtesy of Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.

This information has been adapted from Safety on Ice from North Dakota Game and Fish Department.



  1. It is certainly interesting for me to read the article. Thank author for it. I like such topics and everything connected to them. I definitely want to read more soon.


  2. This article was very interesting to me. Thank you for writing it. I like health and safety themes and everything you write about. I look forward to reading a bit more soon!

    Sara Stone

  3. Thanks for the blog post! I like the material! Will read more soon.

  4. Thank author for post…very helpful!

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