Coast Guard warns of shifting ice condition

MARQUETTE – The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a warning that warmer temperatures this weekend will greatly increase the possibility of weakened ice in the area.

The recent trend and prediction of warmer temperatures has caused extremely hazardous ice conditions throughout northern Michigan, including in Marquette Bay, Munising Bay, the Straits of Mackinac and surrounding bodies of water.

The Coast Guard warns of the possibility of ice breaking apart with people ice fishing and traveling on the ice.

“Munising Bay and Marquette (Bay) may see fluctuating ice characteristics,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Kuhn, operations petty officer at Coast Guard Station Marquette. “Ice enthusiasts in these areas are likely to see deteriorating ice conditions starting (today) and lasting through the weekend with temperatures forecasted in the upper 30s.”

Ice conditions throughout the Straits of Mackinac will rapidly deteriorate with the warmer temperatures the region is experiencing, said Senior Chief Petty Officer Michael Beatty, officer-in-charge of Coast Guard Station St Ignace. “With the prediction of warmer temperatures over the next several days, there is a concern that people will be at risk for falling through the ice.”

The Coast Guard warns people to never venture out on the ice alone, and proper precautions should always be taken before heading out on the water or the ice.

When venturing out, a person should adhere to the following precautions:

  • Intelligence – know the weather and ice conditions, know where you are going, and know how to call for help. Never go out alone.
  • Clothing – have the proper clothing to prevent hypothermia. Wear a waterproof exposure suit and a life jacket.
  • Equipment – have the proper equipment. Carry two ice picks or screwdrivers, in case you fall in. Use these items to dig into the ice and pull yourself out. They are more effective than bare hands. Carry a whistle or noise maker to alert people that you are in distress. Carry a cellular phone or marine band radio in a waterproof container, so that you can call for help if you come across trouble.

For more information about conditions, call 906-635-3233.