Coast Guard warns warmer temperatures could bring dangerous ice conditions

DETROIT – The Coast Guard is warning ice sport enthusiasts Friday of potentially unstable ice conditions due to weather forecasts calling for warmer temperatures and anticipated rain and fog over the weekend in much of Michigan and Ohio.

Last week, Coast Guard Sector Detroit’s Command Center coordinated the rescue of 10 people and experienced one loss of life on Lake Erie after a similar increase in temperatures.

“The temperature was the major contributing factor in all of the ice rescue cases we had last week,” said Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator, Cmdr. Rob Berry. “Higher air temperatures brought unstable ice conditions that caused people and ATVs to fall through the ice, stranded others on ice floes, and created heavy fog that disoriented ice fishermen who couldn’t find their way back to shore.”

The Coast Guard warns that venturing out onto the ice is extremely dangerous during increases in temperatures.

“We want to see these warnings taken seriously,” said Berry. “If you are going out on the ice, preparation is paramount. If you aren’t thinking about safety for yourself, think about it for your loved ones.”

The Coast Guard urges ice sport enthusiasts to:

  • check the forecast and understand local ice conditions before going out
  • tell family or friends exactly where you’re going and when you’ll be back
  • dress for the water temperature and wear a life jacket in case you fall in
  • choose bright, reflective clothing to aid rescuers in finding you
  • bring distress signals such as flares and whistles, as well as a compass, GPS or personal locator beacon
  • take a marine VHF radio or cell phone with extra batteries
  • bring ice picks or screw drivers to pull yourself out of the water and onto the ice in a worst case scenario

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