Boating and ice safety
Too many people drown at Strawberry due to avoidable accidents and not being properly equipped for an emergency. The water at Strawberry can be very cold even when the weather is warm, and hypothermia can set in very quickly on a person in the water. Also, the weather at Strawberry can be very unpredictable, and violent storms can arise very rapidly. The following are some basic tips that could make your trip more enjoyable, and even save your life.
Boating safety tips
For more information on boating safety, please see the US Coast Guard page on boating safety.
- Always wear a life jacket! This alone would have saved many drowning victims at Strawberry.
- Make sure your boat is in good operating condition before taking it out. A properly running boat will prevent you from becoming stranded on the lake, and from the frustration of spending hours working on it at the boat ramp.
- Be aware of the weather conditions. The weather can change rapidly. Do not stay on the reservoir if a lightning storm or strong winds develop. If you are not able to get back to a marina, find a sheltered bay to wait the storm out in.
- Always carry enough life jackets for everyone, a bail bucket, oars, throwable floatation devise, anchor, rope, two way radio or mobile phone capable of sending calls at Strawberry (some providers do not have service in the valley), extra gas, fire extinguisher, and other safety equipment.
- Bring warm clothing. Even in the middle of summer, when the daytime temperatures are 100° F in Salt Lake, the mornings can be at or near freezing at Strawberry. Storms can also bring cold and wet weather.
- Always be alert. Many accidents occur because people are not paying attention to where they are going. Strawberry can be a very crowded place. Never have people or gear on the bow limiting the operators sight. And please be extremely careful around float tubers, as they are more difficult to see. Be aware that there are many floating and underwater hazards at Strawberry, and obey all marker buoys.
- Never operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Be courteous. The lake, and especially the boat ramps, are often extremely crowded. Have your boat prepared prior to launching so that you do not tie up the boat ramps and docks unnecessarily. Do not crowd others that are fishing, there is enough room on the lake to spread out a little.
Ice safety tips
- Be aware of the ice conditions before venturing onto the ice. Always check ice thickness before walking or taking snowmobiles and ATVs on the ice, particularly early and late in the ice fishing season when ice is either forming or deteriorating. Clear ice is capable of holding more weight than cloudy ice. There should be a minimum of four inches of good clear ice before walking out onto the lake, and at least six or more inches before taking a snowmobile or ATV on the ice. Late in the season (March-April) is particularly dangerous as the ice deteriorates. The ice may still be relatively thick, but may not hold as much weight as it is breaking down. Before you walk very far, drill a test hole to see how thick the ice is. You may also want to drill or dig some additional holes as you walk out.
- Fish with a partner. If you go through the ice it is very difficult to get yourself out of the water without help.
- Avoid having large groups of people and equipment in a small area.
- Never venture out onto partial ice conditions. Large sheets of ice can break away leaving you stranded.
- Avoid the mouths of streams and underwater springs that can create dangerous ice conditions.
- Carry some safety equipment such as ice awls (picks) for pulling yourself out of the water, and some rope to pull others out. It is also a good idea to wear a life vest under your clothing, or carry a floatation pad that can be used as a warm seat cushion while fishing.
- Dress warm. It can be extremely cold, particularly when the wind blows.
- Be very careful if you attempt to rescue a person who has gone through the ice. Many would be rescuers become victims as well. Use a rope or long pole to attempt the rescue from safe ice or from the shoreline.
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