The very first rule is to never ever fish alone. If there is some type of an accident, having a buddy can save your life. In addition to having a friend, have a life coat. If you fall in the water, if the ice breaks, the life jacket will both keep you afloat as well as aid keep you warmer while your pal reaches you.
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If you are going extremely a way from the coast, after that take rope that you can tie to a tree, so you are landlocked to something on the shore. If that is too much, then take rope you could throw to another person. It is much better to be safe than sorry. Do not rely on plastic rope as it kinks when it gets chilly.