BANGOR, Maine — The weather in Maine has seen it all in the past couple of weeks, some days with snow, some with rain, and even a day that felt like spring. This time of year is a transition period for bodies of water, as they're not quite in winter mode.
It's a dangerous time of year for those who love going out on frozen lakes or ponds to play hockey, snowmobile or spend the day ice fishing. Maine Game Wardens are urging Mainers to take caution before they step on the ice.
Alan Gillis is a Sargent in the Maine Game Warden Service, his biggest fear is people falling through the ice. The best advice he has for those who do fall through is don't panic.
“Get your arms up onto the ice and kick like crazy with your legs and force yourself onto the ice. And once you’re out of the water don’t immediately stand up," Gillis said.
According to Gillis, the best way to avoid falling through is check the ice before you take a step on it.
“Everyone should know how much ice they’re on and they should do that by checking the thickness of the ice," Gillis added.
Is there a general rule for how many inches of ice is safe to walk on? Some pond hockey skates at the Penobscot Valley Ice Arena think four to five inches, others say six to 12...both are wrong.
Gillis added that not all ice is the same, and the thickness of the ice can vary on every pond or lake. The best way to be sure the ice is safe is to check all areas of the body of water.
“Start at the shoreline and work your way out and check every so often so you know in fact how much ice you have," Gillis said.