There are still lakefront property owners who have not renewed their lake ice melting device permits for 2019-20, see Newbury Town Clerk.

Thin Ice

Permits are required by the state for lake ice melting devices.

Permits are required from the town clerk for any device that melts or keeps lake ice from forming around docks and boat houses.

In 2018 The Newbury town clerk issued 38 Aquatherm permits for these devices, so far this year there have been only 14 of these permits renewed.

Please keep in mind that if the ice melting device is in the lake the permit is required even if there is no ice or the device is not operating. Permits are available from the town clerk at town office for a fee of 50 cents. The blank form can be downloaded from the Town of Newbury website. Please do not forget about the requirement for a "Danger Thin Ice" sign.

NH RSA 270.33 (1973) amended July 2019 regulates ice melting devices around docks and boat houses on lakes and ponds in the state.
The original RSA required “Thin Ice” signs and the obtaining of permits from the town clerk. This year’s amendment added the requirement that ice melting devices minimize the area of open water around the devices and do not limit access of the public from the land to the ice covered lake. 

Newbury Fire Rescue uses the listing of ice melting devices to identify where there may be thin ice or open water in the event a rescue is required on the lake.  

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.     

The New Hampshire State Police Marine Patrol is responsible for compliance with the law and has been checking for violations around Lake Sunapee.

If you see an area on the lake that poses a safety hazard to the public, call the Marine Patrol at 293-2037. Of course, if you see anyone fall through the ice or that appears to be in danger, call 911.

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