ALEXANDRIA BAY, N.Y. (WIVB)–Due to multiple accidents occurring along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River because of ice instability over the past few weeks, the U.S. Coast Guard is urging the public to exercise extreme caution on the ice.

Officials say accidents have resulted in people falling into the ice-cold water and total loss of equipment like snowmobiles and ATVs in Alexandria Bay and Oswego. 

Current ice thicknesses are far below past seasonal averages, according to the Coast Guard, resulting in unstable, weak ice, and extremely hazardous conditions. 

They’re advising the public not to venture onto the ice.

The Coast Guard recommends anyone participating in activities on or near the water in cold weather to take appropriate safety precautions like: 

  • Wear proper clothing to prevent hypothermia and choose bright colors to be easily seen by others
  • Carry safety equipment such as a whistle or noise-making device, waterproof VHF-FM radio or Personal Locating Beacon, and ice awls or screwdrivers which can be used for self-rescue should an accident on ice occur

Anyone with questions can contact the Sector Buffalo Command Center at 716-843-9527.