Home LIFE How to Survive a Fall Through Ice – Life-Saving Self-Rescue Skill

How to Survive a Fall Through Ice – Life-Saving Self-Rescue Skill

Learn a life-saving self-rescue skill essential for all outdoors people who venture out into winter. By learning how to reduce your cold shock and get yourself out of the water with these techniques, you can save your life or help someone who has fallen through the ice to save theirs.

source/image(PrtSc): ReWildUniversity

This technique is designed for use in still water, such as a lake, and will work even if you are wearing bulky clothes. It allows you to move your body up onto ice that cannot support your standing weight, and teaches how to move over the ice until you reach ice with weight-bearing capacity.

source/image(PrtSc): ReWildUniversity

If you are wearing skiis or snowshoes, you can first move through the cold shock portion of your self-rescue, then calmly attempt to raise your legs through applying even downward pressure with your arms on the ice shelf and arching your butt upward, followed by extending your legs out behind you.


If successful, gently pull yourself forward. If this is unsuccessful, you must attempt to remove the skiis/snowshoes, or if necessary to save your life, your boots.

Cold water immersion is a potentially life-threatening situation. Do not attempt unless under professional supervision. This video was shot at the ReWild University training grounds in Wisconsin by a highly-trained wilderness instructor with rescue staff in attendance.