Ask your loved ones to be safe on the ice this winter

With snow on the ground and a few frigid days behind us, we’re nearing the point of our late-pre-winter when Mainers start doing things that get themselves killed.

It happens every year. Unfortunate. Tragic. But true.

Lakes and ponds are “making ice,” as we say, and many of us are eager to get out there and catch some fish.

We’ve got enough snow on the ground to make Maine look like a winter wonderland, and snowmobilers are eager to fire up their sleds and go for a ride.

Sounds the recipe for a great day spent outdoors in Maine.

Or the recipe for disaster.

It all depends on the place, and the time, and the conditions. And it all depends on how cautious outdoor enthusiasts are when they head onto what may be barely frozen bodies of water.

A friend in northern Maine emailed me today and told me his local lake has six inches of ice on it.

He also told me he knew of a guy who figured it would be a good idea to drive his car onto the lake.

It wasn’t.

Every year, similar stories unfold. We hear about the worst ones — tales that end when our friends and neighbors drown after breaking through the ice.

We often don’t hear about dozens of other incidents, those close-calls that could have been much worse.

Yes, we’re making ice in these parts. But it’s also snowing and sleeting on top of that ice. That thick blanket of snow doesn’t help. Instead, it insulates the ice against all that cold air.

Every year, we lose a few of our friends and neighbors in preventable accidents.

I suppose we can’t change that, even though many writers pen many ice safety columns each year.

But you can change one thing, all by yourself.

You’ve read this far. You know the risks. You can make the choice to be cautious and safe on the ice this winter.

And you can ask your loved ones to do the same.

At least it’s a start.

Follow John Holyoke on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.