PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) advises anglers and other winter recreationists to be aware of ice fishing and hypothermia safety.
Despite the early cold spell, ice is currently not safe at Rhode Island state parks, according to DEM.
DEM does not monitor ice conditions in local communities. Anglers and others should contact their local recreation departments about safe ice conditions on ponds before ice fishing, skating or other ice-related activities in individual communities.
DEM’s Division of Parks and Recreation provides information about Lincoln Woods State Park in Lincoln, Meshanticut State Park in Cranston, and Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick on its 24-hour ice information line, (401) 667-6222.
Ice must have a uniform thickness of at least six inches before it may be considered safe by DEM. It generally takes at least five to seven consecutive days of temperatures in the low 20s, and is determined by several factors such as the size and depth of a pond, the presence of springs or currents, and local temperature fluctuations.
Anglers are reminded to be careful about hypothermia. Hypothermia is caused by exposure to cold weather, wind, rain, or submersion in cold water. It can set in when the body core temperature reaches 95 degrees Fahrenheit and is marked by shivering, dizziness, trouble speaking, lack of coordination, confusion, faster heartbeat and shallow breathing.
It is important to look for these symptoms in children and the elderly who may not be focused on this hazard. When in the outdoors, especially in low temperatures, dress in layers and wear a warm hat and gloves. If hypothermia is suspected, call for help immediately and move the victim to a warmer environment, removing wet clothing and covering with warm layers of clothing or blankets.
View DEM’s ice safety guide online at www.riparks.com/IceSafe for safety tips, information on ice strength, and guidance on what to do if a person were to fall through the ice.
The first safety tip: never assume the ice is safe. Among the others: never skate alone or on an untested lake or pond; never use the ice for a shortcut; and never go out onto the ice after an animal or a toy.
Winter trout stocking will start the week of January 22, 2018. For updates on winter stocking locations, follow DEM’s outdoor education page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/rioutdooreducation, or call 401-789-0281.