Conservation officers urge ice safety after several incidents statewide

Contact: Lt. Todd Szyska, 313-396-6890
Agency: Natural Resources

Feb. 2, 2021

co-patrol-snowmobileDespite freezing temperatures throughout the state, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers urge ice-goers to use extreme caution when on or near the ice and to know what to do if you or someone you’re with breaks through the ice.


Sgt. Jason Becker, who patrols southeast Michigan, reports that six snowmobiles have fallen through the ice in that region over the past 11 days.

“We’re seeing a mix of situations – snowmobilers riding into open water and snowmobilers who break though the ice,” Becker said. “Be aware of the ice conditions before you go out. Do not rely on yesterday’s conditions. Weather changes can rapidly affect the ice in a short amount of time, even if it’s a sudden drop in the temperature.”

On Jan. 22, Upper Peninsula conservation officers near Garden responded to reports of a drowning after strong winds created a 4- to 5-foot-wide pressure crack, exposing a portion of Lake Michigan.

Officers said an angler had been operating his off-road vehicle to or from his ice shanty, which was located on the far side of the ice that had been separated by the pressure crack. It appeared the man mistakenly navigated his ORV into the open water, where it then sank 10 to 15 feet.

The DNR encourages everyone to pay close attention to the different characteristics of the ice, wear an insulated snowmobile suit (that can serve as a personal flotation device) or a personal flotation device, and carry ice picks in an accessible location.

For more ice safety information go to Michigan.gov/IceSafety

Locate places to snowmobile and read more about snowmobile safety at Michigan.gov/RideRight.

Recruiting for 2021 academy

Earlier this year, the DNR announced it is accepting applications for the spring 2021 conservation officer academy. Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect residents through general law enforcement and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve.

Learn more at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.


/Note to editors: An accompanying photo is available below for download. Caption information follows.

Snowmobile: DNR conservation officers will be patrolling frozen bodies of water across Michigan and expect to see more ice-goers and snowmobilers as winter continues./