Maj. Tim Acerno: (603) 271-3129
Lt. Kevin Jordan: (603) 271-3129
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
February 5, 2007

Reminder: Ride Snowmobiles Safely and Responsibly

CONCORD, N.H. -- After weekend snowmobile accidents in New Hampshire resulted in two deaths and multiple injuries, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department urges all snow machine riders to review safety precautions and ride responsibly. Russell Davis Sr., age 52, of Belmont, N.H., died on the afternoon of February 3, 2007, after his snowmobile hit a tree. Another man, Kevin Barbieri, age 37, of Salem, N.H., was killed that evening when his machine hit rocks on Arlington Pond in Salem. Two additional snowmobile crashes on February 2 (in Hampstead, N.H.) and February 3 (in Derry, N.H.) resulted in serious injuries to four riders, including an 8-year-old boy.

"Operating a snowmobile can be very rewarding, giving you the chance to see and experience many areas of the state that often aren't accessible during our cold winters," said Major Tim Acerno, coordinator of Fish and Game's snowmobile safety and enforcement program. "But it can also turn out to be very dangerous, even life-threatening, depending on weather, trail conditions and rider behavior."

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department would like snowmobilers to take a few precautions before venturing out, said Acerno. Most important, be prepared for the extreme conditions. While the cold temperatures can be very dangerous, if you are wearing clothing that is appropriate for your choice of winter activities, the adventure will be one to remember. Following are some key safety reminders:

  • If you are operating a snowmobile, you must know what your abilities are and understand the capabilities of your snowmobile. Every operator and every machine have different capabilities. If you identify these levels and stay below them, you are virtually guaranteed of having a safe and enjoyable ride.

  • Trail conditions are forever changing, so make sure that you operate at a speed that is reasonable for the existing conditions. For example, at night or when operating in other low-visibility conditions, reduce your speed so that you can identify and avoid sudden hazards on the trail or lake. You must always be aware of the conditions of the trail or frozen body of water when operating a snowmobile, because, like our weather, they are constantly changing.

  • Do not operate a snowmobile after drinking alcohol. New Hampshire has strict laws prohibiting operating any type of recreational vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you take the chance, you will lose your privileges to operate any type of recreational vehicle or motor vehicle and pay substantial fines. The Fish and Game Department and the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association continue to promote zero tolerance while operating a snowmobile. Don't Drink and Ride.

  • Be especially careful next weekend. The Annual Meredith Rotary Club Fishing Derby is scheduled for February 10 and 11, 2007. Thousands of anglers will venture out onto New Hampshire's lakes to catch the elusive trophy fish.

  • Always be careful to test ice safety, even though we have experienced freezing temperatures and weather forecasters promise it will be even colder this week. Many factors affect how ice freezes, so ice thickness will not be same throughout a lake. Always check the thickness and condition of the ice before going out and while you are heading to your secret ice-fishing spot. Avoid inlets and outlets and other areas of the lake where there is current, such as springs or natural formations. The ice in these areas will be thinner and not as strong. Avoid objects that are embedded in the ice. These objects attract the sunlight and weaken the ice.

Just because it's cold outside does not mean that we have to hide indoors for the winter months. Leave the hibernation and migration to warmer climates to wildlife. Get out and enjoy the outdoors, but be prepared and be safe.

Click here to download a brochure on ice safety.

Click here to find more information about Fish and Game's snowmobile safety education program.

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NH Fish and Game Dept.
11 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301

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