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      Coast Guard warns about ice dangers

      Fishermen and skaters might want to wait a while before heading out on the ice.

      With winter well underway, the Coast Guard is issuing its annual cold-weather warning for anyone venturing out on the Great Lakes or frozen ponds, streams and rivers.

      The Coast Guard patrols the Great Lakes region and said it's imperative to take cold-weather precautions and to keep these tips in mind before head out onto the ice.

      Never venture onto the ice alone or without telling your plans to a responsible adult.

      The Coast Guard said water below 70 degrees can kill quickly.

      Clear ice is the strongest. Ice formed by melted and refrozen snow appears milky, is very porous and very weak. Ice covered by snow should always be presumed unsafe.

      Four inches of ice will generally hold an average-sized person on foot. Snowmobiles and ORVs need at least eight inches of solid, consistent ice.

      Coast Guard officials say be smart about weather and ice conditions. It is important to wear appropriate clothing and have safety equipment including a marine radio and life jackets.