Perks of Mackinac Island Ice Bridge Come With Risks

It's by no means a road, but snowmobilers are starting to use an ice bridge connecting Mackinac Island to St. Ignace.

Two islanders walked across the Straits of Mackinac Monday, and today snowmobiles started crossing.

Though there is a plane, many still look forward to the ice bridge, when the ferries stop running.

One islander we talked with admits there's risk involved, and the Mackinac County Sheriff agrees.

Sheriff Scott Strait advises nobody go onto the ice without first checking conditions for yourself.

He says conditions can change at any time, especially in an area with so much current.

The sheriff also suggests anyone venturing onto the ice take the following precautions:

-Leave a travel plan with someone in case you don't return

-Dress in layers

-Wear a personal flotation device, or ice creepers for boots.

-Carry cell phone, whistle, rope, ice picks/screwdrivers with you

-Check ice thickness by using an ice spud, auger or cordless drill

-Keep a safe distance between yourself and others in your group

-If you find a weak spot, retreat

-If you hear the ice crack, have your group spread out. Everyone should lie down to distribute weight on the ice more evenly, then crawl on your belly to safer ice

-If someone falls through, call 911, then use a pole, branch or rope to try and reach the victim

-If you fall through, stay calm and call for help. Kick your feet while getting hands and arms up onto safer ice

-If your pet wanders onto the ice, do not follow them. Stay where you are and coax them back to safety