Troop’s Tips: Staying safe on the ice

February 8, 2012



Lt. Matt Bryant

By Lt. MATT BRYANT columnist


    What can you say to this winter? Where are you and what did you do with the ice? I myself love to fish the frozen waters of our area here in Mason County. So far this year I have chosen not to press my luck.  The warmer than normal temperatures with wind have been making a mess out of our lakes. The brief cold spell we had made for some ice that was safe to venture out on. But now with temps above freezing again and not much below at night. Things are getting a little “iffy”. 


    Now I know there are going to be the die hards who say “Oh there is plenty of ice.” They always do.  One thing to remember: Is it really worth it? Not only are you risking your own life when going out on “iffy” ice, but other lives as well. The amount of people you can affect by making your decision far out weighs that tasty dinner of fillets.  Rescuers, bystanders, theirs and your family.  Please be smart in your decisions to go out on the ice.


     If you do decide to go and test the conditions tell someone when, where and how long you are going to be gone. Use a spud every couple steps. Give a few chops on the ice as you walk. People wear them in a boat on the water but don’t while standing on water. Wear a life jacket. If you do go through, hypothermia will cause you to lose muscle movement and consciousness. A life jacket will keep you afloat to prevent drowning. Have a set of ice awls should you go through the ice, these can assist you in pulling yourself up and on to better ice. Once you pull yourself out, stay on your stomach and slide away from the hole you fell in.  Getting up too soon could cause you to fall through again as the ice has been weakened in that area.  


     Use caution while on that favored lake. Watch out for holes and cracks in the ice. Watch for sticks or old Christmas trees on the ice. These items are used to mark a hole that was used for fishing. Stay clear of them as the ice may not be completely frozen to a safe thickness.


I am not saying don’t fish. I am “chomping the bit” to get out there too. I am just saying lets do it smart so we can do it again.






Matt Bryant is a lieutenant on the Hamlin Twp. Fire Dept. He also serves on the Mason-Oceana 911 board and owns Bryant Irrigation. You may contact him at

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