BRATTLEBORO — Though skating on the Connecticut River might seem like a good idea, emergency responders want people to think twice before going out on the ice there.
Brattleboro Assistant Fire Chief Lenny Howard III said that skating on a river or any body of water that has an active current is very dangerous.
“With the active water current underneath, the ice is extremely dangerous because it does not freeze uniformly and therefore can have weak spots/air pockets where the ice is very weak and you can fall through. It is highly recommended that you never skate on such a body of water,” Howard said. “On a lake or pond we highly recommend that the thickness is checked prior to anyone going onto the ice. With the days starting to warm up as we approach spring, it makes it very dangerous for ponds and lakes.”
Lt. William Boudreau, commander of NH Fish and Game District Four, said he received notification Sunday from the Brattleboro Fire Department that people were skating on the river, which is owned by the Granite State.
Boudreau said he did not recommend anyone skate on any river while there are plenty of safe ponds and lakes where the ice is more consistent.
“There’s nothing we can do legally to stop them, but the ice thickness on a river fluctuates wherever you are,” he said. “And with the warm weather in the forecast, what could be safe one day is not safe the next.”
Boudreau said he can understand the thrill of skating down a river but noted skating can cover a lot of distance in a little time, crossing from safe ice into areas not so safe.
Boudreau also noted that NH Fish and Game responded over the weekend to a four-wheeler through the ice on the Piscataquog River in Goffstown, which resulted in a drowning.
“Where there is a current, the ice thickness can fluctuate and it can happen quickly,” he said.
As temperatures are supposed to reach the 60s this week, people should be extra careful when stepping on the ice.