Coast Guard warns of weak ice on Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River

A Coast Guard Station Burlington ice rescue team trains using an ice rescue shuttle board in Burlington Bay on Lake Champlain, Wednesday, January 11, 2017. The team trains using several different techniques designed to rescue people who have fallen through the ice. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Barresi)

A Coast Guard ice rescue team trains using an ice rescue shuttle board. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Barresi)

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The U.S. Coast Guard reminds the public to exercise extreme caution on ice along Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Annually, there have been multiple accidents due to ice instability resulting in persons in the water and complete losses of personal recreational equipment, like snowmobiles and ATVs, in both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Current ice thickness levels are far below past seasonal averages, resulting in weak and unstable ice formations which contribute to extremely hazardous conditions. The public is advised not to venture onto the ice. Never assume the ice is safe, even if others are on it.

During the winter months, the public is reminded that certain safety precautions should be taken when engaging in recreational activities on or near the ice. Wear the proper clothing to prevent hypothermia and choose bright colors to be easily seen by others. Carry proper safety equipment such as a whistle or noise-making device, waterproof VHF-FM radio or Personal Locating Beacon, and ice awls or screwdrivers which can be used in self-rescue should an accident on ice occur.

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