Coast Guard urges caution around ice with changing temps

TOLEDO, Ohio (13abc Action News) - From ice fishing to snowmobiling, people in Northwest Ohio love to be on the water, even in winter months.

While ice is already showing up in some places, those with the U.S. Coast Guard say it's best not to try your luck as rising temps have made already thin ice even weaker.

"Ice is very unpredictable," said Seaman Matthew Reeves. "No ice is safe ice out there, so you always want to take precautions when you go out there and just always expect the worst."

It's something that those at Toledo's Coast Guard station know first-hand as they train on the water in all conditions.

"Even with all our protective equipment—your feet, your hands—everything gets extremely cold, especially after being out for at least two hours, three hours, four hours," said BM2 Max Bridges.

When venturing out on frozen water, the Coast Guard says you should always wear the proper gear and have a means of communication as falling through the ice could mean life or death.

"It only takes about 10 minutes for someone to lose meaningful movement in their arms and legs...and you only have about an hour of consciousness once you fall into this water," said Bridges.

If you happen to see someone fall through frozen water, it's best to call 911 and stay off the ice.

"The best bet is to grab something like a ladder or line and try to get it to them because the ice around them is going to be extremely weak," said Bridges.

Simple tips that Coast Guard leaders hope will keep you safe while on the ice this winter.