Save yourself!

Using ice picks

If you do break through, try to remain calm.

  1. Turn in the water towards the direction you came from - that is probably the strongest ice.
  2. Dig the points of the picks into the ice and while vigorously kicking your feet, pull yourself onto the surface by sliding forward on the ice.
  3. Roll away from the area of weak ice. Rolling on the ice will distribute your weight to help avoid breaking through again.
  4. Get to shelter, heat, warm dry clothing and warm, non-alcoholic, and non-caffeinated drinks.

Call 911 and seek medical attention if you feel disoriented, have uncontrollable shivering, or have any other ill effects that may be symptoms of hypothermia, (the life-threatening drop in the body's core temperature.)

If your buddy breaks through, first tell them to "Stay calm" and that "We'll get you out of there in a second." Then throw them the picks and explain how to use them. Remember that by kicking their feet, the thrust of the kicks can help push them back onto the solid ice.


For more information, contact the Minnesota DNR for our free ice safety brochures and ice thickness cards. 651-296-6157 or [email protected] .

If you wish to re-use any DNR Boat and Water Safety materials from this Web site, please contact us.