A trail of footprints leads to where the ice gives way, and in a matter of minutes, a call is sent out over the radio for rescue to begin.
Luckily, the men who are in this frigid water are professionally trained Coast Guards who planned a practice ice rescue for the team.
"Today was near the Houghton County Lift Bridge, and from there we have one person for communication, we have a team lead, and we've got two rescuers," said Machinery Technician Craig Ross.
First, the victims are assessed by the rescuers to see if they are conscious and responsive to the commands given. Then, the victims are asked to move in the water and raise their hands as a way to communicate and determine their alertness.
"We keep talking to them to ensure that they can hear us. We notify them as to what we're doing and keep assuring them that we're there for help," Ross said.
The Coast Guard says the human body can lose voluntary muscle movement in 15 minutes or less, and it also depends on the weight of a person and the type of clothing that they're wearing.
Special equipment is carried out onto the ice, and rescuers use a shepherd's crook to secure the victim and pull them from the freezing water. They are then placed onto a board, and the Coast Guard uses rescue techniques to pull the victims to safety.
"Situations like this are going to occur and so it's better for us to have something like this today happen as a controlled environment, and it ensures us that we're ready also," Ross said.
The Coast Guard isn't the only rescue team available. The local fire department has also received ice rescue training and they have the necessary equipment.
Although the Coast Guard trains daily, they ask everyone to stay off the ice because there isnâ??t any ice that is safe enough to walk on.