If you do not know how to identify how safe the ice is, any time you step on it, you are risking danger. Yet there are ways to assess the thickness and safety of ice. The mains ways are to observe the color of the ice, testing the thickness and being tuned in to such external conditions as the temperature and the knowledge of locals.

Check with local authorities before heading out on the ice. Take note of the color of the ice. Blue ice is the strongest. White opaque ice is half as strong as blue ice. It is formed when wet snow freezes on the ice. Grey ice is unsafe. For walking or skating, ice should be at least six inches thick. Do not go out on the ice at night and always wear a personal flotation device.

Always have an emergency safety plan in place when heading into the ice. Be sure to tell others of where you re going. Wear proper cold weather clothing, including a buoyancy aid. Take an ice pick with you and avoid traveling on the ice alone. You should also have a spare set of clothes in a plastic bag. You should also have an emergency blanket, thick socks and a first aid kit in our backpack.