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Press Release | Feb. 9, 2023

Extreme caution advised on ice along shores of lakes Erie, Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the St. Lawrence River

Sector Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y.  –  

BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Coast Guard reminds the public to exercise extreme caution on ice along Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

Each year the Great Lakes region sees multiple accidents due to unstable ice, resulting in people in the water as well loss of personal recreational equipment, such as snowmobiles and ATVs.

Current ice thickness is far below seasonal average, resulting in unstable, weak ice and extremely hazardous conditions. Varying air temperatures have also contributed to historically low ice coverage. This winter has already seen two large ice rescue cases in which multiple people had to be rescued on the Great Lakes.

“Never assume the ice is safe, even if others are on it,” said Sector Buffalo Commander Capt. Mark Kuperman. “Ice conditions are highly unpredictable this year, and where you may have safely gone on the ice last year, may be entirely different and unsafe this year.”

During the winter months, the public is reminded that certain safety precautions should be taken when engaging in recreational activities on or near the water. Wear the proper clothing to prevent hypothermia and choose bright colors to be easily seen. Carry proper safety equipment such as a whistle or noise-making device, waterproof VHF-FM radio or Personal Locating Beacon. Ice awls or screwdrivers can be vital in self-rescue, should an accident occur on the ice.

Please contact the Sector Buffalo Command Center at (716) 843-9527 with any questions. -USCG-News