The Hawkesbury Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to remind the public that even though there is ice on lakes and rivers in the area, you need to use caution if you choose to be on them. Not every lakes or rivers are the same and varying winter weather conditions and temperatures can rapidly change ice conditions.
Always check the ice in several places before stepping or travelling onto it, wear a flotation suit, carry ice picks and if you are ice fishing, at least 10 centimetres (4inches) of clear blue ice is required for walking on, 20 centimetres (eight inches) for snowmobiles and 30 centimetres (12 inches) minimum is needed for most light vehicles. Double these amounts if the ice is white or opaque.
Ice safety and weight-bearing properties of ice can be affected by many factors, including thickness, currents, age of ice, pressure cracks and snow cover. Ice does not freeze at uniform thickness across bodies of water. Thickness should be checked regularly as you move further out onto the ice.
The strongest ice is clear blue in color. White or opaque ice is much weaker. A layer of heavy snow on a frozen lake or river can insulate the ice below and slow down freezing. Travelling on ice with snowmobiles or vehicles can be potentially very dangerous and added precautions must be taken. Avoid slushy ice, untracked ice, or ice near moving water or dock bubblers.
It’s important to let others know where you’re planning to fish and advise when you plan to return. If you are missing, rescue crews can narrow their search and potentially save your life.
Parents are always reminded to be mindful while children are out of school, as they may venture out on frozen ponds, ditches or waterways.
The OPP and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) are reminding snowmobilers to take personal responsibility for their own safety and well-being this winter. Snowmobilers are advised to go online at www.ofsc.on.ca to check the status of local trails.
Those venturing onto the ice are reminded to keep safety in mind at all times and be prepared. Always remember that no ice is without risk.