Be Ice Smart

Be Ice Smart

Frozen lakes offer great opportunities for sports such as ice fishing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, skating and snowmobiling. Because no ice surface is without some risk, ensure you become ice aware and take all necessary precautions before you venture out.

The recommended minimum depth for activities on new, clear, hard ice is:

Ice Depth                                                    Activity
7 cm (3 in) or less                                       STAY OFF
10cm (4 in)                                                  ice fishing, walking, cross country skiing
12cm (5 in)                                                  one snowmobile or ATV
20-30cm (8-12 in)                                       one car or small pickup
30-38cm (12-15 in)                                     one medium truck (pickup or van)


From the Lifesaving Society (

Ice is never 100% safe: the best advice is to stay off it. If you do venture onto the ice, remember:

1. Check the weather and avoid ice-related activities on warm or stormy days.
2. Check ice conditions with knowledgeable local individuals (e.g. city staff, police, snowmobile
clubs, etc.). Obey all ice warning signs.
3. Avoid vehicle travel on ice whenever possible, especially if you have been drinking alcohol.
Remember that even one drink can dull your senses, slow your reaction time and impair your
4. Keep away from unfamiliar paths or unknown ice and avoid traveling on ice at night.
5. Never go onto the ice alone. A buddy may be able to rescue you or go for help if you get into
6. Before you leave shore, inform someone of your destination and expected time of return.
7. A thermal protection buoyant suit will increase your chances of survival if you do go through the
ice. If you do not have one, wear a lifejacket/personal flotation device (PFD) over an ordinary
snowmobile suit or layered winter clothing.
8. Assemble a small personal safety kit, no larger than the size of a man’s wallet, to carry on your
person. The kit should include a lighter, waterproof matches, or magnesium fire starter,
pocketknife, compass and whistle.
9. In addition to the above safety equipment, you should also carry ice picks, an ice staff and rope.
A cellular phone could also help save your life.
10. Insist that children, if they do play on ice, are always under adult supervision. Children not within
arm’s reach have ventured too far.


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