Lakes in every part of Minnesota are experiencing later-than-usual ice-out but temperatures are rising and the Department of Natural Resources reminds anyone venturing onto remaining ice to use extreme caution – or stay off altogether. During the past week, conservation officers throughout the state report deteriorating ice conditions and instances of people and equipment falling through.
“Just because you can access a lake doesn’t mean it’s safe to do so,” said Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “Ice this time of year is dangerously deceptive and can change markedly in a matter of minutes – and within just a few feet.”
So far during the 2017-2018 ice season, there have been six ice-related fatalities in Minnesota. All involved people breaking through while riding a recreational vehicle, and the most recent occurred April 23 in St. Louis County.
Anyone who heads onto the ice this time of year should use a chisel to check the strength of the ice frequently and be sure to wear a life jacket or float coat, according to Lisa Dugan, DNR boat and water safety outreach coordinator. Adults also should be vigilant about keeping children away from ice and open water unless they’re accompanied by a responsible adult.
For more safety tips, see the DNR’s ice safety page.