Coast Guard warns Lake Michigan residents of extremely hazardous ice conditions

9th Coast Guard District News
MILWAUKEE — Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan warned Thursday that the arrival of spring and increasingly warmer temperatures will significantly increase the possibility of weakened ice throughout the area.

Warmer temperatures present the possibility of extremely hazardous ice conditions throughout Lake Michigan, including Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay, Lake Winnebago, and other surrounding bodies of water and harbors.

Recent trends suggesting decreased stability of ice reveal a danger to citizens ice fishing or transiting on the ice whether by foot or snowmobile.

“With the arrival of spring, ice will begin to melt and the risk for people to fall through or become stranded on an ice floe greatly increases,” said Cmdr. Erik Leuenberger, Sector Lake Michigan search and rescue mission controller. “We ask that everyone stay off the ice, but if you do venture out then please take extra safety precautions.”

The Coast Guard warns people to never venture out on the ice alone and always tell someone where you are going and when you intend to return. The Coast Guard also recommends that a flotation device be carried when near or on the water.

Although the Coast Guard cautions against going out on the ice in the current conditions, we will continue to provide ice and water enthusiasts important safety guidance. When venturing out, a person should think I.C.E. as a precaution:

Intelligence – know the weather and ice conditions, know where you are going, and know how to call for help. Never go out alone.

Clothing – wear the proper clothing to prevent hypothermia. Wear a waterproof exposure suit and a life jacket.

Equipment – carry the proper equipment. Carry two ice picks or screwdrivers, in case you fall in. Use these items to dig into the ice and pull yourself out. They are more effective than bare hands. Carry a whistle or noise maker to alert people that you are in distress. Carry a cellular phone or marine band radio in a waterproof container, so that you can call for help if you come across trouble.

For more information contact Lt. j.g. Brian Dykens, Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan public affairs officer at (414) 747-7152.

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