With colder weather being forcasted in the coming weeks, members from the Northumberland Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to remind everyone to think about safety before venturing out to enjoy seasonal recreational activities. 

Almost all recreational activities involve some risk, especially those that involve the use of frozen lakes, rivers and streams. It is important to remember that what appears to be frozen, could in fact be ice that is not capable of supporting any weight at all.

Understand the importance of determining the quality and thickness of ice before venturing out onto it. Ice can change very quickly and its appearance can be misleading.  No ice goes without risks and snowmobiling over frozen bodies of water poses a significantly larger risk. 

Here are some safety tips to utilize if you are considering venturing out on frozen surfaces:

  • Always check ice thickness before venturing out. Ice is often thicker and safer near the shore line than further out into open areas.
  • Avoid going out onto the ice in the dark. It is more difficult to see potential dangers.
  • If you must venture out onto the ice, wear a thermal protection buoyant suit to increase your chances of survival should you fall through.
  • Never go out on the ice alone. Going out onto the ice with someone else increases the chance of rescue.
  • Before you leave shore, inform someone of your destination and expected time of return.
  • Carry rescue equipment such as ice picks, a rope, a cell phone (in a waterproof container), first aid kit, flashlight, waterproof matches, tool kit and survival blanket
  • f you use the ice ensure you know how to perform a rescue safely.
  • Do not drink alcohol or consume other drugs. Alcohol/drugs impairs judgement and reduces your body’s ability to stay warm in cold conditions.
  • Download the what3words app on your mobile device. It is a geocode mapping system, to help emergency services locate and rescue injured or lost individuals when they cannot describe, or know where they are located.

Snowmobiling and other ice surface activities are great family outdoor events and we want everyone to have a safe and memorable experience while safely participating in these activities. Remember, no ice formed over open water can be considered 100% safe. Know before you go and consider the risks to yourself, and others should you venture out onto frozen surfaces.  

For more information on ice safety visit the following links:

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