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Madisonians are encouraged to brush up on ice safety

Many locals are excited to get out on the frozen lakes to fish, skate, snowshoe, and more. Before you go, be sure to keep these ice safety tips in mind.

Frozen ice on Lake Mendota at Frautschi Point

Lake Mendota at Frautschi Point in January. | Photo submitted by Laura B.

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office is issuing a warning about venturing out on Madison’s lake ice. The office noted that “recent temperature swings and mixed precipitation are making ice unsafe.”

In addition to the PSA from the Sherriff’s Office, the DNR suggests these ice safety tips:

  • Always tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to return.
  • Look for clear ice, it’s stronger than ice with bubbles in it.
  • If you fall through the ice, keep your winter clothes on.
  • Carry basic safety gear — a cellphone in a waterproof bag, a life jacket, lengthy rope, and ice claws.

How to make your own DIY emergency ice claws:

  1. Obtain a couple of four-inch dowels, or any similarly sized wooden pieces that will float
  2. Drive hardened, sharpened nails into one end of each dowel
  3. Drill holes at the opposite ends of the dowels, perpendicular to the nails
  4. Attach strong cords through the drilled holes, your creation should resemble a jump rope
  5. Carry in your pocket for easy access in case of emergency