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Q & A: Ice Skating Safety

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
How thick does ice on a lake have to be for me to skate on it? Why?
- Theodore Lyketsos (age 9)
Gilman School, Baltimore, Maryland
Theodore -

Over time, people have figured out how thick ice should be in order to stand or skate on it - mostly by walking on it and seeing if they fall in. ;) I've seen a number of recommendations for exactly how thick it should be - some say 3 inches and some say 4. Just to be safe, wait for it to freeze to 4 inches. Also, be careful because the ice could easily be thick enough in one place and really thin just a few feet away. It can also get thinner or thicker over the course of just a few hours.

You should always make it a point to know something about the ice that you're skating on. If it's a public lake, watch the signs - there should be someone there checking it regularly and putting signs up so that everyone knows. If it's a more private lake, never go skating alone. And no matter where you are, keep your eyes open for any cracks, holes, tree branches, or other dangerous things.


(published on 10/22/2007)

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