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Officials warn of ice dangers at Blue Marsh Lake

By 69 News, (follow: @69news), news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 02 2013 12:37:58 PM CST
Icy - frozen lake
BERN TWP., Pa. -

As colder air sets in, so does the threat of ice-related dangers at Blue Marsh Lake in Bern Township.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the lake, issued an advisory Monday that the water is starting to freeze over.

Officials recommend staying off the ice at Blue Marsh because the thickness can vary across the lake.

Still, they provided the following safety tips to those who may take to the icy water this winter to fish, skate, boat and cross-country ski.

  • Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket when on the ice
  • Dress in layers, wearing fabric next to your skin that wicks away moisture from your skin, and wear a hat
  • Always recreate with a buddy
  • When on the ice, carry a sharp item with you (keys, knife, ice awl)
  • If you fall through the ice, use the sharp object to dig into the ice, kick your feet and pull yourself up and out of the water, and roll away from the hole
  • Never run out onto the ice to rescue someone - - call for help
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine as it cools you down faster

More than half of Pennsylvania's boating-related fatalities are a result of prolonged exposure to cold water, said officials, who noted that water cools the body down 30 percent faster than air at the same temperature.

Your best prevention is wearing a life jacket when on or around the water, officials said.

State law requires that boaters wear a life jacket on boats fewer than 16 feet in length and on any canoe or kayak between Nov. 1 and April 30.