The ice traveler should look for bluish ice that is at least 4 to 6 inches thick, in order to support people and their gear. Even if the weather has been below freezing for several days, don't guess about ice thickness. Check ice in several places. Use an auger, spud, or axe to make a test hole, beginning at shore and continuing as you go out. If ice at the shoreline is cracked or squishy, stay off. Don't go on the ice during thaws. Watch out for thin, clear or honeycomb-shaped ice. Dark snow and dark ice are other signs of weak spots.Choose small bodies of water. Rivers and lakes are prone to wind and wave action, which can break ice up quickly. Avoid areas with currents, around bridges and pressure ridges.In the wintertime, outdoor enthusiasts frequently need to know how thick the ice is and whether it is safe to walk across it. The American Pulpwood Association has published a hand reference chart that gives a good rule-of-thumb for ponds and lake ice thickness.
"Wait for a long cold spell, then test the ice thoroughly."
What if I break through the ice??
If you break through the ice, don't panic. Don't try to climb out - you'll probably break the ice again. Lay both arms on the unbroken ice and kick hard. This will help lift your body onto the ice. Roll to safety.
To help someone who has fallen in, lie down flat and reach with a branch, plank, or rope; or form a human chain. Don't stand. After securing the victim, wiggle backwards to the solid ice. The victim may need treatment for hypothermia (cold exposure), artificial respiration or CPR.
- Travel in groups and inform some responsible person of your plans. Fill out a Trip Itinerary.
- Know your machine and its capabilities.
- Respect the rights and property of others.
- If it is necessary to travel on frozen bodies of waters, do so with extra caution.
- When crossing a highway be sure the way is clear and cross as directly as possible.
- Know and obey Maine snowmobile laws.
- Do not use your machine to harass wildlife, or in areas frequented by game.
- I will always operate at a reasonable and prudent speed for trail conditions;
- I will always drive to the right side of the trail and park to the right in single file or stop off the edge of the groomed surface;
- I will not pass unless recognized and motioned to pass by the snowmobile operator ahead;
vI will respect the trail groomer operator and leave the trail in the same condition I found it;
- I will not drink and drive;
- I will not ride on plowed roads except at legal crossings.