A recent spurt of frigid temperatures has iced over some Nebraska water bodies. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission warns anybody venturing onto the ice to be cautious.
Warmer temperatures will be arriving quickly, but in light of two recent drownings in eastern Nebraska in which persons went through the ice, Game and Parks offers the following safety tips:
• Never go out alone. Have a buddy.
• A minimum of 3 inches of clear, blue lake ice will support a single person.
• Use an ice chisel or spud bar to strike the ice and evaluate conditions as you venture out.
• Have a long throw rope with you in case of emergency.
• Slush ice is about half as strong as clear lake ice, so people should double the minimum thickness figures when encountering such conditions.
• Be especially careful on any lake that has moving water in it. Water movement hinders freezing, often leaving hard-to-detect thin spots.
• Materials imbedded in the ice, such as weeds or logs weaken ice. Large objects on the ice, such as duck blinds or ice shacks, can absorb the sun’s heat and weaken ice. Ice near shore may be weakened by heat from the ground.
• Wear ice picks around your neck in case the worst happens and you need something to grip the ice to pull yourself out of the water.
• Wear ice cleats on your boots for traction.
Dangers from falling through the ice can include drowning or critical injuries resulting from hypothermia. Keep safety top of mind.