How to Tell if Ice is Safe to Walk On: Important Guide – Full Overview

Suppose you talk to someone conversant with outdoor experiences and their general lifestyle. In that case, they will tell you that it is impossible to anticipate all the challenges that you would encounter while outdoors.

Venturing into the forest means that you might encounter mountain lions or bears. The downside to this is that you would not know when this encounter would happen or if it would even happen at all. Reacting and saving yourself from this danger will require thinking fast and even agility in some cases.

However, other outdoor problems are not immediately life-threatening. If you explore a cold region and come across the ice, you can wait and make sure it is safe before you cross the ice. People play many games on ice, and they have to make sure that the ice is thick enough to withstand their weights before they go ahead with these games.

Survivalists can also follow a set of guidelines to check if ice is safe before they walk on. Learning how to tell if ice is safe to walk on is a knowledge that most survivalists acquire to know how to navigate the situation if they ever come across it. This guide has been put together to show you how to tell if ice is safe to walk on.

Tips on How to Tell if Ice Is Safe to Walk On

How to Tell if Ice is Safe to Walk On

The people living in an environment will always know more about the place than people visiting. If you visit a cold region for the first time and have to walk over ice, the smartest thing would be to ask the people and the authorities around for information. They can provide you with information on the safe routes and weak spots on the ice.

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Most of the information that you would use to come to conclusions in the below guidelines will also be gotten from locals and authorities.

  • Ice is generally unstable, and the people’s safety on it cannot always be wholly guaranteed. These are some of the important boxes you have to check when stepping out on the ice.
  • Dress appropriately; wear a floatation jacket
  • Carry ice picks, waterproof phones, long ropes, and other relevant gear in case of emergency
  • Don’t walk on ice in a straight line with your buddies; spread out
  • Let someone know where you are
  • Once you have followed all the above instructions, you can go ahead to check if ice is safe to walk on. Different factors determine the ice’s safety, and checking them will make it simple for you to verify if the ice is safe.
  • Ask the locals

Check the Overall Appearance of the Ice

Checking the ice’s overall appearance is the first step to determining if the ice is safe to walk on or not. If you notice water flowing at the edges of the ice, then this is a clear sign to leave the ice area immediately. If you also notice any cracks, breaks, holes in the ice, then the ice is not safe. If water is flowing over the ice or appears to have refrozen, you should also turn back. If any part of the ice surface is not exact, it is probably not safe enough to pass.

Check the Color of the Ice

Knowing how to recognize the color of ice can help you determine if it is safe to pass or not. Slushy or rotten ice is generally not safe to even step on. The ice is weak in the middle, and it can easily break at any point. Light, gray, or dark black ice also means that the ice is weak and can’t hold too much. White ice is usually safe, but due to air pockets, they can become porous and weak. The best ice to cross is clear, blue ice. This ice is the safest to walk on.

Determine the Chemical Composition of the Water

Knowing the chemical composition of the water can also be a good determiner. Saltwater is weaker than freshwater, and it will require a higher level of thickness for it to be safe to walk on. Freshwater can be easily thickened, and that makes it easier to cross. The chemical composition of the water can be gotten from the authorities within that locality.

Determine the Thickness of the Ice

If you have followed all the above guidelines and your ice has scaled through, you should try to determine the ice’s thickness. The authorities around the area should have the measurements of the ice ground. If it is less than 3cm, then you should not attempt crossing the ice. If it is within 4cm to 10cm, then it is safe for crossing. You should check the thickness after every 150 feet.

Check the Size of the Water Body

If the size of the waterbody is small, then it freezes quicker and also dissolves quicker. However, if the water body is large, it freezes up more slowly and dissolves more slowly. When a large water body is fully frozen, it will be completely safe to walk on it. You also need to determine if there is a water flow in and out of the water body.

Determine the External Weather Temperature Over Time

The weather is another important factor you need to consider before walking on ice. Ice is usually safe in the mid-winter season because the sun is coldest, and you don’t have to worry about harsh sunlight. Spring ice, however, can be unsafe for walking because it is prone to quick thawing.

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Knowing how to identify safe ice to walk on is important. Following the above guidelines, when checking ice safety can save your life one day. Survivalists need to have this knowledge, so we have compiled the above information for you.

If you plan to venture into a region where you have to walk on ice, it is important to do further research and gather more information.

This article is intended to serve as a general guide for walking on ice, and you might need more information depending on your unique situation.

If you have any queries feel free to reach out in the comments section below.

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  • Isaac McMahon

    Isaac McMahon was born and raised in New Orleans, and after experiencing the destruction of his home by a flood, Isaac developed an interest in survival. His parents lacked the knowledge of preparation for a disaster such as a flood and struggled to survive. The tragic incident fueled his passion for survival and prepping. Then eventually, Isaac entered the law enforcement field and retired from it at a young age. After that, he opened up a store located on New Orleans’s outskirts, catering to the military and law enforcement. He ran it for a decade until he decided to retire. Today, Isaac is an empty nester and lives with his wife and two dogs. Besides contributing excellent content to Survival Straps, Isaac runs in the park with his two dogs and studies genealogy.

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