Massachusetts Group Offers Tips on How to Tell If Ice Is Safe


Every winter, we hear harrowing tales of someone who has fallen through ice that wasn’t frozen solid enough to support their weight.

Being submerged in ice-cold water when the air temperature is near or below freezing is never good. It’s something you want to avoid at all costs.

So how can you tell if ice is safe? There are no guarantees.

How Can You Tell If South Coast Ice Is Safe Enough?

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) said it’s better to assume the worst.

“Always consider ice to be potentially dangerous,” MassWildlife said. “You can’t judge ice conditions by appearance or thickness alone; many other factors like water depth, size of waterbody, water chemistry, currents, snow cover, age of ice, and local weather conditions impact ice strength.”

Local temperatures have remained at or below the freezing mark, and ice is apparent on many area lakes, ponds, and other bodies of water throughout the SouthCoast and across the Commonwealth.

How Can You Tell If South Coast Ice Is Safe Enough?

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

How Can You Tell If South Coast Ice Is Safe Enough?

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

Some who scored new ice skates, a hockey stick, or even a sled for Christmas may be jonesing to hit the ice. Perhaps you enjoy a stroll with the dog. Before you venture out, check the MassWildlife website for some simple tips, including ice thickness guidelines and suggestions that could save your life and the life of your pet.

Two critical things to be mindful of before taking your first steps on the ice: new ice is stronger than old ice, and ice formed over flowing water and currents is often more dangerous.

How Can You Tell If South Coast Ice Is Safe Enough?

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

MassWildlife suggests you inform someone of your plans before venturing out on the ice and take a cell phone with you in case of emergency. The agency also recommends that you wear a life jacket.

Enjoy the ice but just be sure to make sure it is safe and that you have a plan in place in case things go wrong.

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