Coast Guard conducts ice safety sessions

Rescuers recover a victim on the Saginaw Bay. / NBC25

Ice fishing is a Michigan winter staple but when trouble comes around, emergency flares go up and a call for help goes out. Usually it is the United States Coast Guard answering that call.

When it gets warmer the ice melts and with the wind conditions, it actually cracks the ice and pushes the ice off, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Danny Graves. He trained about 30 future ice rescuers on the Saginaw Bay Thursday night, off the coast of Bay City State Park.

Two ice fishermen died in the bay in recent days. Earlier this week, nearly 50 fishermen were stranded on the Bay, but made it to safety. Graves said the Coast Guard does not recommend going out on the ice, but offered advice to those who do so through the acronym I.C.E.

I stands for Intelligence.

"Gather your information before you go out on the ice (such as) weather reports. Contact the DNR, he said. Find out what they have for the ice conditions because they have to go out and check the fishermen, he said.

C is for clothing. Dress in layers, proper layers, he said. We TMre talking about wool clothing. This brings moisture away from your body and your body can also (use) this material to keep you a bit warmer as well.

E is for equipment, including marine radios, flares, personal flotation devices, and cell phones. Make sure you have all of this that if you do get into trouble, you can call for help, he said.

The ice was at least 7 inches thick were Coast Guard officials conducted the training exercises. Graves said the Department of Natural Resources recommends ice be at least 4 inches thick to be considered safe.