Stay off the frozen Barnegat Bay, fire chief warns

     The frozen Barnegat Bay during the last arctic invasion in early January. (Image: Kevin Michelson via Jersey Shore Hurricane News)

    The frozen Barnegat Bay during the last arctic invasion in early January. (Image: Kevin Michelson via Jersey Shore Hurricane News)

    With another polar invasion expected to last for the next few weeks, the Barnegat Bay is beginning to freeze, potentially tempting some to venture out and explore.

    Don’t do it, an Ocean County fire chief warns. 

    “Ice is a very deceiving force. It may look safe and feel safe from the top but be completely weak,” said Seaside Park Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 Chief Mike Tumolo.

    Once you fall in, your life is immediately at risk, he warns. 

    “The currents under the ice will move you and trap you out of reach from help. The cold water will start shutting down your body in seconds using up your extra oxygen reserves that would normally give you the time to effectively rescue yourself,” the chief said.

    Gary Szatkowski, head meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, NJ, said to “not even think about going out on ice” unless it is more than four inches thick. 

    Locals say that ice on the Barnegat Bay is not anywhere close to that depth. 

    So if you’re thinking about taking a walk out there, consider Tumolo’s advice. 

    “I tell everyone that no matter how serene it looks, how safe it feels, or how cool you think you look walking on the frozen Barnegat Bay, it’s just not worth your life. It’s dangerous and unpredictable.”

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