Permits are required from the town clerk for lake ice melting devices, See amended RSA

Thin Ice

With the cold weather here and the freezing of the lakes not too far away, residents who have lakefront properties are required of the state requirements for lake ice melting devices. In July 2019 the legislature amended RSA 270.33 Heating, Agitating or Other Devices in Public Waters, Safety Hazard and RSA 270:34, Registration Required. A copy of the statutes is found below.

The highlights of the RSA are as follows:

  • Permit is required from the town clerk (.50 fee)
  • The device shall not impede either the ingress or egress to or from the ice from any property other than that of the owner of the device
  • Danger Thin Ice Signs shall be posted visible 150 ft. from all directions

The law requires property owners to limit the amount of open water along their property to that necessary to protect docks and boat houses. Open water and thin ice can be a hazard to the public and is dangerous to people using the ice for recreation. The registration of these devices with the town clerk provides Newbury Fire Rescue with the location of the open water and thin ice, in the event that a rescue is required for someone who has fallen through the ice.

If you are operating these ice melting devices, please consider those melters that have a timer or a thermostat that will only operate when necessary. Please contact the Newbury Conservation Commission, or town clerk if you have questions.     

Use of Aqua-Therm
Section 270:33

270:33 Heating, Agitating or Other Devices in Public Waters, Safety Hazard. –No person shall put, place, operate or cause to be put, placed or operated in the waters of this state any so-called heating, agitating or other device which inhibits or prevents the natural freezing of water, or forming of ice, and impedes either the ingress or egress to or from ice by means of any public access thereto. If the heating, agitating or other device is placed anywhere else, nearby signs shall likewise be placed to warn of possible danger. Said signs shall read DANGER, THIN ICE and shall be of sufficient size to be readable at a distance of not less than 150 feet, and shall be visible from all directions and shall be equipped with reflectors and color-coded in a pattern unique for this purpose only. The department of safety is hereby authorized to establish said unique design and coloring and any homemade copies shall follow this design and coloring. The provisions of this section shall be enforced by any law enforcement agency under the direction of the department of safety pursuant to RSA 106-A:14 and the department of fish and game pursuant to RSA 206:26.
Source. 1973, 321:1, eff. Nov. 1, 1973. Amended July 14, 2019


Section 270:34 - Registration Required

Any person operating or hereinafter operating any such agitating or heating device which tends to inhibit the natural production of ice on public waters must obtain a registration to be designed and distributed by the department of safety, from the municipal clerk of the town in which such device shall be operated and said registration shall contain the name and address of owner and the location of said device. A permanent file of such registrations shall be kept by municipal clerks and a fee of $.50 per registration may be charged.

RSA 270:34