Playing Hockey, or Going Ice Fishing This Weekend? Practice Safety

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Many people will be embracing the chill and snow this weekend, on the ice!  But with that, comes the need for safety reminders.

A sunny day has many people out on iced over bodies of water throughout Vermont.  But with these dangerously cold wind chills, folks need to remember to recreate safely; and the experts say no ice is safe ice.

“The sun is out so that’s making it feel a little bit warmer than it is, but that wind chill is pretty fierce,” said Tournament Commissioner Scott Crowder.  Eleven rinks, 125 teams, and 900 players.  It’s the 2017 Vermont Pond Hockey Classic.  A weekend of fun on Mallets Bay, the issue, wind chills were well below zero Friday.  “A lot of these teams played last year, and last year we were like minus 35 with the wind chill Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Looks like we’re going to luck out a little bit and only have a really cold day today.  Saturday and Sunday are supposed to be mid 20’s,” added Crowder, who’s overseeing the Pond Hockey Weekend.

Crowder says his staff is reminding players to be smart, and stay warm when they’re not within the boards.  “There’s a lot to do outside and it’s a lot more enjoyable when you’re dressed properly.  A lot of these players are using hats, gloves, hand-warmers, stuff like that, layers under they’re crazy jersey’s you see behind me,” said Crowder.

If hockey isn’t your thing and you’d rather drop a line this weekend, the experts have one message for you.  “No ice is safe ice.  You never know, you could have 8 inches and it could drop to 1 within a few hundred yards,” said Game Warden Robert Currier. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Agent says it’s been a spotty year for ice fishing.  Currier says ice is okay on smaller ponds, but Lake Champlain is still iffy.

And if your ice shanty is miles from shore, Currier says bringing your vehicle on the ice is not recommended, “As a department we’re going to suggest that it’s not a safe move.  We do not recommend driving vehicles on the ice.”  Some state Departments of Natural Resources recommend at least 8 to 15 inches of ice before driving a car on it.  Warden Currier says he’s seen too many crashes to ever say it’s a smart thing to do.

A fun weekend can turn deadly in a flash.  “Hypothermia will set in very quickly, especially if you’re in the water.  Water takes heat away from your body faster than air does,” he said.

Something else to keep in mind if you ever consider driving onto the ice.  Some insurance companies won’t cover damage to your car once it leaves the road.  If they do, it most likely comes through your comprehensive coverage.  But if you car does go through the ice most states require you by law to pay to have it pulled out.

Vermont’s Pond Hockey classic continues tomorrow and runs through Sunday.

And check out some of the state’s ice fishing regulations and safety tips before you hit the ice.

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