Should the U.S. Coast Guard charge for rescues?

U.S. Coast Guard rescue training

The U.S. Coast Guard is sending out a warning: stay off the ice!

Thursday, the coast guard saved 12 people stranded on an ice chunk about two miles off the shore of Saginaw Bay.

Then, just down the river rescue crews found another man on a floating piece of ice.

Saturday, not a single ice fisherman could be seen on Saginaw Bay.

A local angler NBC25 talked to says the rescue effort scared a lot of people from going back out on the ice.

Robert Weiss knows what every crack, snow ridge, and slush pile means on Saginaw Bay.

If the winds in the wrong direction, if it's a soft shore and it TMs strong, don't go out there, don't go past the crack, it TMs going to open, said Weiss.

Weiss has ice fished on the Saginaw Bay for more than 50 years, and he's know stranger to its dangers.

There was a crack and I missed it, and I drove right threw it, right into open water, so that was not a good night, said Weiss.

Thursday night 13 people had a similar experience.

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued the fishermen who were stranded on an ice chunk which had drifted two miles off shore.

Most of the guys are going out four or five miles, and if there is a white out, and you don't have a compass or GPS, forget it, said Weiss.

The U.S. Coast Guard says the three and a half hour rescue cost taxpayers about $40,000.

Weiss says at that cost people should be charged for their rescue.

Because they are taking a chance in the first place, said Weiss.

Because of warmer temperatures the U.S. Coast Guard is issuing this warning.

Use extreme caution or just stay off the ice, said Ed Hines with the U.S. Coast Guard, Essexville.

The U.S. Coast Guard says when you start to see the ice buckle, that means the ice is moving and the wind could take you for a ride.

Make sure you have the Coast Guard TMs number programmed into your cell phone, and your cell phone is in a zip locked bag, somewhere it won't get wet if you fall in, TM said Hines.

Weiss remembers all too well what that feels like.

That TMs why he called it quits for ice fishing this year on Monday.

The U.S. Coast Guard says ice fisherman can check out the condition of Saginaw Bay, by seeing a satellite picture of it on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's web site.

Should the U.S. Coast Guard charge for rescues?