The Maine Warden Service is urging people to check the thickness of ice forming over open waters before venturing on the ice these days following the New Year.

A recent press release from the Maine Department of Inland Wildlife & Fisheries urged people to check the ice and offered helpful tips.

Maine's lakes and ponds currently have a thin ice cover with varying ice conditions throughout the state.  Some spots are safe, others are very dangerous.

Here are some tips when it comes from checking if the ice is ready to play on directly from the Maine Warden Service:

 

1. No guessing

Never guess the thickness of the ice - Check it! Check the ice in several different places using an auger or some other means to make a test hole and determine the thickness. Make several, beginning at the shore, and continuing as you go out.

2. Take a buddy

Check the ice with a partner, so if something does happen, someone is there to help you. If you are doing it alone, wear a lifejacket.

3. Spot the weaknesses

If ice at the shoreline is cracked or squishy, stay off! Watch out for thin, clear or honeycombed ice. Dark snow and dark ice are other signs of weak spots.

4. Avoid certain areas, in general

Avoid areas with currents, around bridges and pressure ridges. Wind and currents can break ice.

5. Inform the kids

Parents should alert children of unsafe ice in their area, and make sure that they stay off the ice. If they insist on using their new skates, suggest an indoor skating rink.

With these tips we hope you get out and enjoy the winter life and stay safe this winter.