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CONCORD, N.H. -- The season is quickly arriving for ice fishing, ice skating and other winter sports that may find us wondering if it's safe to venture onto a frozen pond or lake.

Here are a few guidelines for ice safety that could save your life.
Never assume the ice -- on any waterbody -- is thick enough to support your weight. Check it! Start at the shoreline and, using an auger, spud or axe, make test holes at intervals as you proceed. As a rule of thumb, (for new, clear ice) there should be a minimum of 4 to 6 inches of ice to support a few, well-dispersed people; 6 to 7 inches for small, on-foot, group activities; and at least 8 to 10 inches for snowmobile activities. (Ice thickness recommendations are based on information from the Cold Regions Research Laboratory in Hanover, N.H.)

If ice at the shoreline is cracked or squishy, stay off. Don't go on the ice during thaws. Avoid honeycombed ice, dark snow and dark ice.
Ice is generally thinner where there is moving water, such as at inlets and outlets, around wharves, bridge abutments, islands, and objects that protrude through the ice.

For a copy of Fish and Game's brochure, "Safety on Ice," call the Public Affairs Division at (603) 271-3211.

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