How to Tell When It’s Safe to Be On Frozen Lakes or Ponds


How Many Inches Thick Should Ice Be on a Lake in Order to Attempt to Use a Snowmobile On It?

• 2
• 4
• 5
• 8

Answer: 5

When it comes to ice and off road travel of any form, the thicker the better. Ice that can hold the weight of a grown man may not be able to hold the weight of a snowmobile or vehicle. Pay close attention to the thickness of the ice before traveling on it, whether by foot, snowmobile, sled or car. If at all possible, stick to lakes that carry markers to indicate the thickness of the ice in the winter time. Even so, the thickness of the ice is just the beginning of what you should know before traveling on it.

Ice Thickness Guidelines

Cold weather can be unforgiving, especially when there’s a chance of getting wet. Whatever the reason for traveling near ponds or lakes, it’s important to remember the simple rules below. They may even save your life.


• Always tell someone where you will be and what time you expect to be home. This is especially important in heavy snowfall or icy conditions.

• Always bring cold weather survival gear and know how to use it in an emergency.

• If the ice is 2” or less, stay off because it’s not safe.

• If the ice is 4” or more, it’s can be considered safe to walk on.


• If the ice is 5” or more, it’s safe for vehicles like snowmobiles.

• If the ice is 8” or more, it’s considered safe for small vehicles.

Just like in any other situation, it’s important to always be prepared for the unexpected, especially when dealing with ice covered bodies of water. Use these ice thickness guidelines with caution. There are many other factors to consider that could make the solid ice unsafe.

Safe Ice and Signs of Bad Ice


~To Your Survival