Late Winter Ice Safety Tips Written by April McBriarty-Weismann on 2/21/2014 6:07 AM in ice safety tips, NH lakes, late winter safety tips. It has 0 Comments. It has been a tough winter in New Hampshire this year with the constant bombardment of snow storms and record cold, but take comfort in the fact that spring is less than one month away. Given the rapid transition in weather this time of year it is important to be aware that conditions can change from one week to the next, if not from one day to the next. These temperature fluctuations can make it difficult to determine if it is safe to enjoy the classic NH past time of skating, ice fishing and snowmobiling on our local waterways. We would suggest that you fight the urge to get out on the ice just because you see others doing it or see many bob houses still on the lake. As we all know, a handful of these ice huts end up at the bottom of the lake every year. Instead, use your own judgment and consider the following tips when making a decision on whether the ice is safe: There is no such thing as "safe ice". Conditions and unseen or unknown factors can render seemingly safe ice suddenly dangerous. Don't make an assumption that just because everyone else is on the ice means it is safe. Prefer ice that is checked by designated authorities on a regular basis. Checking usually occurs on a daily basis with quality measurement tools. If you are on vacation and unfamiliar with the area, check with the local police or fire department. Ask them about recommended spots and spots to avoid. Look for signs indicating whether or not the ice is safe and always obey the signs. Understand that ice strength is not the same everywhere, not even on the same body of water. In general, the rules for ice thickness measurements are: 3 inches or less: New ice - keep off, 4 inches is suitable for ice fishing, cross-country skiing and walking (approximately 200 lbs.), 5 inches of ice is suitable for a single snowmobile or ATV (approximately 800 lbs) * Remember that there is no coverage for a snowmobile or ATV unless you have a separate policy for these items, 8-12 inches is suitable for one car or group of people (approximately 1500 - 2000 lbs), and 12-15 inches is suitable for a light pickup truck or van. If in doubt, find an alternative. Skaters can find a local rink while snowmobilers and skiers can always stick to the hundreds of miles of trails that roam throughout our New Hampshire landscape. For more information about ice safety, visit the NH Wildlife website. Stay safe!