Cracked Ice

Ice Safety in New Hampshire

Crossing ponds or lakes (water body) there are 2 periods to avoid when accidents are likely to occur. Early in the season when slush ice doesn’t freeze together or late in the season when the ice melts at an uneven rate.  Look for bluish ice that is at least 4 to 6 inches thick.  Dark snow and dark ice are other signs of weak spots.


(In Inches)                   Maximum Safe  Load

     4                            One person on foot

     6                            Group in single file

     7 1/2                      Cars – two tons gross (weight) snowmobiles

     8 - 12                     Light Truck (2 1/2 tons)

     12 – 15                   Medium Truck

If you fall through…don’t panic.  Spread arms and hands out on the unbroken ice and kick your feet and work forward.  Once you’re on the ice roll forward away from the hole.

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 on the ice.
  • Don’t 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 aid you in a self-rescue (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.

Ice safety should be paramount for anyone recreating on New Hampshire’s lakes and ponds.  Don’t assume ice is safe just because it’s there.

Average Monthly Weather

November 38ºF

December 25ºF

January 21ºF

February 23ºF