Coast Guard offers cold water safety tips for ice fishermen, public on Lake Champlain

A Coast Guard Station Burlington ice rescue team member calls back to two team members who are tending a line attached to the yellow ice rescue shuttle board, Wednesday, January 11, 2017, in Burlington, Vermont. The ice team typically trains multiple times a week during the winter months. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Barresi)

A Coast Guard Station Burlington ice rescue team trains. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Barresi)

BOSTON — The Coast Guard is urging ice fishermen and the public to use caution and be prepared while on Lake Champlain.

Ice is unpredictable and dangerous. Even in a small area, ice can significantly range in thickness making people or heavy objects susceptible to falling through. Every minute counts when you fall through the ice. Preparation may mean the difference between life and death.

The Coast Guard offers these cold water and ice safety tips:

Remember the acronym ICE, which stands for Information, Clothing and Equipment.

  • Information: Plan ahead! Know the weather and ice conditions. Let a family member or friend know where you will be and when you plan to return home.
  • Clothing: Dress for the water temperature, even if you plan to stay on the ice.
  • Equipment: Carry safety gear; life jacket, light and whistle are essential.
  • Always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket, and dress for the lake temperature. A life jacket allows a person to float with minimum energy expenditure and allows the person to assume the Heat Escape Lessening Position by bringing the knees close to the chest and holding them in place by wrapping the arms around the shin portions of the legs.
  • Never venture out alone. Use the buddy system.
  • Carry a registered personal locator beacon in addition to a marine radio to alert the Coast Guard and local safety agencies of potential distress. Consider a waterproof hand-held model that can be worn.
  • Carry all required and recommended safety gear, such as visual distress signals and a sound-producing device. Carry your visual distress signal and whistle in the pocket of your life vest so they’re close at hand in an emergency.

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