When is it Safe to Venture Out on an Icy Pond?

In the latest You Ask, Patch Answers feature, we look at when it might be safe to go on a frozen pond.

The celebration of a new year means it's also pond hockey season.

How often in the past week have you passed an iced-over pond and seen kids and adults skating, playing hockey, or even ice fishing?

And how often have you wondered whether it's safe to go out on that pond?

According to the State of Massachusetts website, the following chart is recommended:

Ice Thickness and Strength

Ice Thickness
(inches) Permissible Load
(clear, blue, lake ice) 2" or less STAY OFF! 4" Ice fishing or other activities on foot 5" Snowmobile or ATV 8" - 12" Car or small pickup truck 12" - 15" Medium truck

According to Sudbury Fire Chief Bill Miles, playing it safe is always your best bet.

"We favor backyard rinks," he said. "We don't really (test ice safety). It's difficult for any department to put a stamp on a pond and say it's safe or not safe."

Should an emergency arise, Miles said his department is prepared.

"We do have ice rescue suits. The guys are working on ice rescue training," Miles said, who added the department also has the same type of rescue sled used recently in Waltham to save stranded deer.


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