Ice thickness guidelines by weight

You are responsible for knowing the weight of your vehicle, equipment, and bodies. Our recommendations are based on average equipment weight and assume solid, clear ice. Learn the different ways to check for ice thickness.

Ice Depth (in.)

Max Weight (lbs)

4”

800

5”

1,250

6”

1,800

7”

2,450

8”

3,200

9”

4,050

10”

5,000

11”

6,050

12”

7,200

13”

8,450

14”

9,800

15”

11,250

16”

12,800

17”

14,450

18”

16,200

19”

18,050

20”

20,000

*The thickness guidelines above are based on Gold’s formula[1]: P = Ah2, where P is the allowable load in pounds, A is the bearing strength of 50 psi, and H is the total ice thickness in inches. This formula is a starting point for creating ice safety guidelines, but remember ice is NEVER 100% safe.

[1] Gold, L.W. Use of ice covers for transportation. Can. Geotech. J. 8, 170–181 (1971).