Many of us who live in the colder half of the country love lake ice for all the great things it lets us do including fishing, skating, sailing, snowmobiling and simply exploring this unique landscape. While virtually everyone knows ice can be either wonderful or treacherous, many of us are not well prepared to assess ice conditions or to rescue ourselves or others if thing go wrong. Few of us fully appreciate how quickly cold water will debilitate you and how difficult it is for some people to get back on the ice. Fortunately most people who fall through get out successfully. With basic equipment and knowledge the likelyhood of not being able to get back on the ice quickly is quite low.
An iceboating friend observed that there are two kinds of iceboaters: those who have gotten wet and those who haven't gotten wet yet. This applies to all ice users. This website is intended to help you make it less likely that you will get wet this season but, if you do, the site will help you be better prepared to deal with it.
In addition to falling through, slips and falls are common. Also, many sports involve going fast and ice provides lots of ways to come to a very abrupt stop (most of them messy). There are all manor of ways to get hurt or worse on ice. The site looks at hazards, features and a bit of the science behind them. It was created to provide a more comprehensive look at lake ice than has been available in English.
The information presented is thought to be a good interpretation of reality but, like any description of reality, it is never 100% correct. If you find things you think we do not have quite right please contact us. At the end of the day, what matters is the ground truth.
The site is being developed by Bob Dill and other contributors. I am an engineer and my main ice uses have been sailing, skating, investigating what can go wrong and sorting out what happened when things do. In the mid-late '80's, as the International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association secretary, I wrote a dozen or so safety related articles. This website is an expansion of that work.
It is not the intent of the site to scare people away from going out on frozen lakes. Please remember that most people who spend lots of time on lake ice never get into serious trouble. We are just trying to make that a little more likely. Keep in mind that, while more knowledge of how ice behaves is important to making good decisions, it can lead to over confidence. Staying out of trouble has as much to do with prudent judgment as it does with knowledge of ice behavior.
The site evolving. The pages on the site are edited and revised periodically. The site suffers a bit from the ineffectiveness of self proof reading. If you would like to contribute information, pictures, accident accounts, technical articles, suggestions, corrections, etc, contact us: lakeice (at) outlook.com .
This is a non-commercial web site. Any actual or apparent endorsements are only opinions of things we are familiar with.
On the scientific side of the site, the intent is to present useful or interesting information rather than a scientifically rigorous explanation of the subject at hand. Important references are included as a gateway to more complete treatments of subjects of interest.