Utah Lake Ice Safety and Recreation
Get your jackets and ice skates ready because ice has started to form on the lake! There are a variety of fun things that you can do at Utah Lake during the winter. Everyone should be aware of these fun opportunities, as well as some ice safety tips:
- Always check ice thickness before going out onto the ice, particularly early and late in the season when ice is either forming or deteriorating.
- Always go with a partner. If you go through the ice, it is very difficult to get yourself out of the water without help.
- Avoid having large groups of people and equipment in a small area.
- Avoid the mouths of streams and underwater springs that can create dangerous ice conditions.
- Carry some safety equipment such as ice awls (picks) for pulling yourself out of the water, and some rope to pull others out. It is also a good idea to wear a life vest under your clothing.
- Be very careful if you attempt to rescue a person who has gone through the ice. Many would be rescuers become victims as well. Use a rope or long pole to attempt the rescue from safe ice or from the shoreline.
- Be aware of the ice conditions before venturing onto the ice. Clear ice is capable of holding more weight than cloudy ice. Clear ice is stronger than white (bubble filled) ice. Four inches of clear ice will support 2000 pounds in a 30’ by 30’ space. It takes 8 inches of white ice to do the same thing. There should be a minimum of 4 inches of good clear ice before walking out onto the lake, and at least 6 or more inches for other equipment.
- This is only provided as a general rule, many factors influence ice conditions, and ice conditions are not uniform around the lake. Some areas may have plenty of ice, and others very little. For this reason, it is not advisable to venture onto the ice until at least 6 inches or even more is present.
- Dress warm. It can be extremely cold, particularly when the wind blows.
- Late in the season (March-April) is particularly dangerous as the ice deteriorates. The ice may still be relatively thick, but may not hold as much weight as it is breaking down.
This infographic from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources provides helpful information:
This WikiHow article gives additional tips, including how to help someone else get out of the water.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources regularly updates Utah Lake ice conditions on their website.
This video provides tips on how to get out of the water in the event that you do fall through the ice:
As always, please share your Utah Lake winter adventures with us by using #utahlake on social media.