With several reports already this winter of people falling through the ice, sometimes with tragic results, remember to check ice thickness before heading out onto the ice, especially with warmer temps this month.

The Minnesota DNR recommends you check ice thickness every 150 feet and follow these ice thickness guidelines to stay out of harms way:

  • UNDER 4" - STAY OFF
  • 4" - Ice fishing or other activities on foot
  • 5" - 7" - Snowmobile or ATV
  • 8" - 12" - Car or small pickup
  • 12" - 15" - Medium truck

In regard to having vehicles on the ice, the DNR says that cars, pickups or SUVs should be parked at least 50 feet apart and moved every two hours to avoid sinking.

The easiest way to check ice thickness is to bring a cordless drill and a tape measure.  Of course, an ice auger or ice chisel will also work if you have either one available.  Ice is rarely the same thickness over an entire body of water and temperature, snow cover, currents, springs and rough fish all affect the relative safety of ice.

Ultimately, it's best to play it safe when going out onto the ice.  Follow the link below for a lot of ice safety information, including steps for surviving immersion.