The recent ice rescue by Marquette County Sheriff's deputies of a Republic Township man's dog illustrates the inherent danger and problems involved in trying to safely walk on river or lake ice at this time of year.
Steve Nesbitt's Canadian husky had wandered across a roughly 300-foot section of badly deteriorated ice and slush on Spring Lake to reach a small island. Once there, the 2-year-old dog could not figure out how to get back on the ice and cross it to the mainland shore.
Instead of trying to walk over the ice himself, Nesbitt wisely contacted the sheriff's department, which sent two deputies to the scene. One donned an ice rescue suit and pushed a 10-foot boat across the ice to reach the dog.
Once at the island's shore, the deputy put the dog in the boat. Nesbitt and the deputy remained on the mainland then pulled the boat with the deputy and the dog across the ice to safety.
Nesbitt was grateful to the deputies for their quick response, concern and help in rescuing his dog.
Capt. David Lemire of the sheriff's office applauded Nesbitt for doing the right thing by calling deputies, rather than trying to get across the ice himself. He suggested the public do the same thing if similar circumstances were to occur.
"There is no safe ice. This time of year is especially dangerous as the ice thickness is not a good indicator of ice stability," Lemire said. "This time of year, the ice is referred to as 'snow ice,' which is very unstable, despite thickness."
After such a long, bitter winter, we understand there is an eagerness to get outside to explore the relative springtime we've had so far.
However, we agree with sheriff's deputies that walking on ice at this time of year is not a good idea. Better to remain safe than sorry.
Additionally, sheriff's office personnel are to be congratulated for a job well done.