Saturday February 16, 2019

Ice Safety

The Lifesaving Society encourages you to be ice smart – know the basics and be sensible. Most winter drowning victims are male snowmobilers. But everybody needs to be careful around frozen lakes, rivers and streams. Year after year we hear of owners drowning while trying to rescue their dogs (incidentally, the dogs usually survive).
The Society’s drowning data shows:
Almost three quarters of ice-related incidents occur on lakes (73%) and the rest occur on rivers.
Most snowmobile incidents involve open water/ice holes (62% of all snowmobiling incidents) or thin ice (38%).
Here’s how you can be ice smart. First, understand the importance of determining the quality and thickness of ice before venturing onto it. No ice is without risk. Even thick ice may be weak so be sure to measure clear hard ice in several places. The quality and thickness of ice can change very quickly and its appearance can be misleading.

There are several steps you can take to stay ice smart:
1. keep away from unfamiliar paths or unknown ice,
2. avoid travelling on ice at night – clear hard ice is the only kind of ice recommended for travel,
3. if you must venture onto the ice, wear a thermal protection buoyant suit to increase your chances of survival if you fall through. If you do not have one, wear a lifejacket/PFD over an ordinary snowmobile suit or layered winter clothing,
4. avoid slushy ice, thawed ice that has recently refrozen, layered or rotten ice caused by sudden temperature changes, and ice near moving water (i.e., rivers or currents),
5. never go on the ice alone; a buddy may be able to rescue you or go for help if you get into difficulty,
6. before you leave shore, inform someone of your destination and expected time of return, and, ideally,
7. assemble a small personal safety kit no larger than the size of a man’s wallet to carry with you. The kit should include a lighter, waterproof matches, magnesium fire starter, pocketknife, compass and whistle. You should also carry ice picks, an ice staff, a rope and a cellular phone.

For more information:’s-drowning/ice-safety.aspx