Deteriorating Ice Conditions

December 26, 2009
Lt. Jeff Blakley Phone: (608) 284-6155
Sheriff's Office

Madison, WI. December 26, 2009:   The Dane County Sheriff’s Office Marine and Trail Enforcement Bureau (MATE) want to caution the public of potentially dangerous ice conditions on area lakes and waterways.  With the warmer temperatures and rain, the lake ice may  experience some thinning and deterioration in some areas.  

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office has responded to three separate reports of ATVs breaking through the ice on Lake Kegonsa today.   In all three incidents the ATV riders were able to escape the frigid waters without injury.  Each of the ATV’s were equipped with flotation devices and will remain in the lake until they can be safely removed. 

Please remember these safety tips if you are planning to venture out on the ice.

  • Use caution near bridges and trestles, as the structures conduct heat into the water and ice near these areas will be more dangerous.  This is also true for areas where there is a current running through the water.

 Be vigilant when traveling on the ice at night.  Reduced visibility increases your chances of driving into open water or on weak ice.  This is a frequent cause of ATV and snowmobile related crashes.


  • Use the buddy system.  A friend may be able to assist you or summon rescue resources for help if it becomes necessary. 


  • Always wear a float suit or a lifejacket.  Wearing a personal flotation device increases your chance of survival if you go through the ice.


  • Before you leave home tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return and take safety equipment with you.  Ice picks, rope and a cell phone can help avoid a tragedy.


  • Avoid alcohol.  Alcohol impairs your judgment, coordination and reaction time and accelerates the symptoms of hypothermia.