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Feb 3, 2016 1:02 PM

NH Fish and Game issues warning, advice for dealing with thin ice

CONCORD - New Hampshire Fish and Game officials are warning people to be careful when it comes to venturing out on any ice this winter, especially on the state's larger lakes.

Uneven temperatures and high winds mean that some areas that have traditionally been safe for anglers and other outdoor recreation are not safe this year. Be especially careful of areas with current, such as inlets, outlets and spring holes, where the ice can be dangerously thin, they say.

"We are urging people to check the ice thickness for yourself before you go out onto any frozen waterbody,"said Fish and Game Col. Kevin Jordan. Vehicles should not be driven onto the ice and anyone on foot should carefully assess ice safety by using an ice chisel or auger to determine ice thickness and condition.

There should be a minimum of six inches of hard ice before individual foot travel, and eight to ten inches of hard ice for snowmobiles or ATVs.

Tips for staying safe on the ice include:

• Stay off the ice along the shoreline if it is cracked or squishy. Don’t go on the ice during thaws.

• Watch out for thin, clear or honeycombed ice. Dark snow and ice may also indicate weak spots.

• Small bodies of water tend to freeze thicker. Rivers and lakes are more prone to wind, currents and wave action that weaken ice.

• Don’t gather in large groups or drive large vehicles onto the ice.

• If you do break through the ice, don’t panic. Move or swim back to where you fell in, where you know the ice was solid. Lay both arms on the unbroken ice and kick hard. This will help lift your body onto the ice. A set of ice picks can help you pull yourself out if you do fall through the ice; wear them around your neck or put them in an easily accessible pocket. Once out of the water, roll away from the hole until you reach solid ice.

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