In many parts of the US and Canada our lakes freeze for a portion of the winter. It is always a bit of a risk determining when it is solid enough to walk or ride on a lake. Here is a suggested guide:
|Ice Thickness in Inches||Permissible Load|
|Under 2||Stay off|
|2-3||One person on foot|
|4||Group of people walking — spread out|
|7||Passenger Car — (2 tons)|
|8||Light truck – (2 1/2 tons)|
|10||Medium Truck — (3 1/2 tons)|
|12||Heavy Truck – (7 — 8 tons)|
As we move into March, ice on lakes will start to melt, and as you cut a hole in the ice, take into account the above guideline. Also, consider the fact that below the surface, ice thickness varies. If it is 12 inches where you stand, it could be more or less in other spots depending upon springs, exposure to sun and more.
If the ice cracks and you go in, don’t panic. Grab the edge and kick hard to pull yourself to safety. If you are rescuing someone, lie on your stomach and slide to the opening. Assuming the ice is already weak, laying down helps to spread your weight over a greater area. Pull the victim to safety. March is a tricky time of the year for ice fishing and ice sports — be careful!