Safety on The Ice

ice thickness safety chart
Is The Ice Thick Enough?

To walk on ice it must be a minimum of 2 inches thick. Many people wait until the ice is at least 4 inches thick. Snowy ice is less sturdy than clear, hard ice.

  • Check with the guys in the Oziles' Bait shop to know the ice thickness and where the ice is thin.
  • River ice is always unsafe. Be extremely cautious crossing ice near river mouths, points of land, bridges, islands, and over reefs and springs. Current almost always causes ice to be thinner over these areas.
  • Avoid going onto the ice if it has melted away from the shore. This indicates melting is underway or there has been a warm spell. Ice can shift position as wind direction changes.
  • Avoid driving on ice, but if you do, some safety experts suggest unbuckling your seatbelt and have a plan of action if the vehicle breaks through. Some also suggest driving with windows down and doors ajar for an easy escape. Move your car frequently because parking in one spot for a long time weakens ice.

Hypothermia safety chart - click to enlarge
Know the Signs of Hypothermia

You're having a great time fishing, the beer is going down great, the fish are biting like crazy, and it's really cold. You're doing fine, but what about the guy you invited for the day or the geek in the hut next to you. Do they know about hypothermia? Hypothermia can be very serious and we must learn to recognize the symptoms of hypothermia.

Here are the symptoms in order of severity:

  • Shivering.
  • Blue lips and fingernails.
  • Loss of feeling in extremities.
  • Cold, bluish skin.
  • Decreased mental skills (not the beer).
  • Slurred speech, blurred vision (maybe the beer?).
  • Rigidity in extremities.
  • Unconsciousness.
  • Coma.
  • Death.

Hypothermia is a silent killer. If you think someone is showing signs of hypothermia, keep the victim warm, dry and still. Get them to drink a warm beverage like tea or hot chocolate but never give alcohol to someone who is suffering from hypothermia. Arrange to take the victim to the hospital immediately or call for an ambulance.

Mark yer Holes!

If you've been drilling fishing holes more than a few feet from your hut, make sure they're marked. There's nothing worse than driving your vehicle over a stray hole. It can cause serious damage to a vehicle as well as the shocks and tires.

Ventilate Your Hut

Heated fishing huts must have good ventilation to prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Always keep a window or door partially open to allow fresh air to circulate. This is really important if you plan to sleep in your hut overnight.