Ice skating is fun, and it is great exercise. It can be very tempting to venture out onto a frozen lake in the wintertime. If you own a lakefront home or live near a lake that is frozen over, don’t be mesmerized by the spectacular view. Lakes that may appear to be frozen solid may have ice that is only an inch or two deep. In fact lakes freeze in a rather peculiar way; it expands as it freezes. As the ice expands over the lake it cracks because the volume of ice becomes pressured until it cracks. You can see the cracks out on the ice if you walk out on it far enough; they look like fault lines. These cracks allow for contraction and expansion according to the fluctuations in temperature.
You should never venture out on the ice without knowing without a doubt that it is safe. You can’t tell just by looking at it. You can’t tell by jumping up and down on it. The ice could be thick enough to support your weight in on area and not in another.
Never go out on a lake alone to skate. If you fell in no one would be there to get help to you. To test to see if lake ice is thick enough to skate on you must bring some tools with you. You will need a cordless drill and a skating pole to check the thickness of the ice. Even then, it may not be completely safe to skate on frozen lake.
Look at the ice on the lake. Is it clear, or is it more translucent than clear. If the ice is not clear it may not be safe to skate on. When you skate on any body of water, such as a lake, pond or river you are skating at your own risk. If you should fall through the ice into the frigid water, you could be pulled under the ice and no one could save you. If you do fall through the ice, try to stay calm and grab the edge of the ice where you fell through. Try not to struggle. The more you move around the colder you will get. Your clothes will act as a barrier to some of the cold temperature of the frigid water. The more you move around the water will make contact with the areas that had been protected from the cold. If you go skating on a frozen lake, never go alone. Be sure you have someone with you that can call for help. Make sure you have a cell phone. Make sure you let people know where you are skating, and when you plan to return home.
Never venture out on ice that has a layer of snow on it. The snow is an insulator. Snow acts like a blanket on the ice to keep it warm. The ice could be very weak in those spots. My last source will give you the scoop on the thickness of ice that is safe to support your weight, and the weight of a snowmobile, and the weight of a road vehicle.