Winter Freeze Up PSA
As winter draws near and freeze up is happening, the Northwest Arctic Borough Public Safety Department would like to remind residents of the Northwest Arctic Borough about using safe practices on newly formed ice.
As new ice forms over lakes, streams and the ocean, many residents may be interested in exploring things to do on the ice such as ice fishing and traveling to winter camps.
However, before venturing out, ice safety precautions are needed to ensure the ice is safe for your recreational activities.
Ice strength can be difficult to determine especially on ocean ice due to currents and mixed salt and river water flowing underneath causing ice to appear to be thicker but actually is very thin.
Measure thickness of the ice before going on it. Four inches will typically support a person on foot but it takes approximately six inches of ice to support someone on a snowgo or ATV.
During initial freeze up ice thickness is not consistent, it may warm up to above freezing causing ice that once was thick enough to walk on, to be too thin. Off shore winds will also cause ice to break apart and re-freeze and that causes weaker ice due to cracks and newly formed frozen areas.
If you are planning on any activities on the ice, please wear a life jacket and dress warm. Bring a cell phone, whistle, rope and ice pick with you in case you do fall in, you can alarm for help and get yourself out with the pick.
We would also like to remind parents to teach their children and grandchildren to respect the newly formed ice, do not allow your children to “play” on the ice as it is very dangerous. Also remind kids that “if you see something, say something” in case other children are playing on newly formed ice, and fall through, and nobody knows. It is not considered tattling if you are keeping others safe.
Again, please use extreme caution this fall while venturing on newly frozen rivers, streams, lakes and the ocean.
If you’d like to report ice conditions, or to report lost or overdue travelers please call Northwest Arctic Borough Search and Rescue Coordinator, Jimmy Brown at 412-2038.
Please have a safe fall season!