Coast Guard Emphasizes Safety on Great Lakes Ice

CLEVELAND – A Ninth Coast Guard District Coast Guard unit responded to the first ice rescue of the 2007-2008 ice rescue season when a Station Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., 20-foot rescue airboat rescued two male teenagers from a drifting ice floe in Green Bay yesterday. The Coast Guard understands winter recreation on Great Lakes ice is a tradition, and would like to re-enforce our pledge for public responsibility and safety:

  • Always check the weather and ice conditions before recreating on the ice.  Ice thickness is not consistent.
  • Always tell family and/or friends where you are going and when you are expected to be back…and stick to the plan.  If you are in distress, this will greatly assist response agencies.
  • Use the buddy system. NEVER go out onto the ice alone.
  • Dress warm and in bright colors.  Wear an exposure suit that is waterproof and a personal floatation device.
  • Carry a whistle and/or a noise-making device to alert people if you are in distress.
  • Be aware of where you are, and carry a cell phone or VHF-FM radio to contact the nearest Coast Guard station or emergency response agency if you are or if you see someone in distress.  Knowing your location can increase the response time of the rescue agency.
  • Carry two ice picks or screwdrivers.  If you fall through the ice, you can use these items to get you out.  They are more effective than using your hands.
  • If you see an animal in distress on the ice, contact the nearest Coast Guard station or response agency.  They will be able to contact an agency with the proper rescue equipment.

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