The Russell County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reminds citizens to take precautions on waterways during the winter months, due to the fluctuating temperatures. Help keep everyone safe by following these safety tips:

  • Don’t trust the ice! – Always be aware of the thickness and quality of ice to reduce risk of breaking through.
  • Where ice is checked for thickness, obey posted signs on when and where ice surface is acceptable for activities.
  • Clear blue ice is strongest. White opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice. Opaque ice is formed by wet snow freezing on the ice. Grey ice is unsafe. The grayness indicates the presence of water.
  • Avoid any open holes in lakes and rivers.
  • Avoid travelling on any ice in non-daylight hours.
  • Be aware of currents and/or tides as these locations cannot be trusted to have consistent ice thickness.
  • Check the ice thickness, many ice fishers will drive a motor vehicle, snowmobile or ATV to their fishing hut. No activity should be carried out on ice less than 15cm thick. In the presence of snow on ice, the minimum thickness would need to be doubled to 30cm.
  • Wear a flotation device and cold protection suit, even if you’re fishing from shore or on thick ice.
  • Carry rescue equipment: This includes ice picks, a rope, a cell phone (in a waterproof container) and a first aid kit. Other safety equipment to be considered includes: flashlight, waterproof matches/lighter, tool kit, candles and survival blanket.

For further information on ice safety from the Canadian Red Cross, visit: Ice Safety – Canadian Red Cross