How to Safely Survive Falling Through Ice

DJ of The Bear Essentials, who explained how to get back into a canoe after it capsizes, helpfully demonstrated how to survive falling through ice and how to rescue yourself if you are alone.

What to do if you fall through thin ice? Follow these simple steps for self-rescue.

The first step is to keep your elbows above the ice and stay very calm despite the shock of the cold water. If panicked, try to regulate your breathing before taking any further action. After that, kick your back legs while trying to move forward as if you were swimming. This forward motion will give you the leverage to pull yourself out of the hole. Crawl (or roll) onto thicker ice or shore. If you have ice picks, use those for leverage as well.

Repeat this process as often as necessary until you get to safety, but be aware of the hazards.

You have about 10 minutes of time before your body will shut down. …Once you get to shore, make sure to seek help even if you weren’t in the water long. Hypothermia is a serious risk and often is paired with confusion and an altered state of mind and well-being.

The inspiration for DJ’s video came from a 2014 video by ReWild University.

I gained inspiration for this video from REWILD UNIVERSITY – and from my own experience in Firefighting Ice Rescue Training

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.