To say it has been an unusually mild start to the winter is an understatement. No snow for sliding, skiing, snow fort building (my favourite) or snowmobiling. The ‘Sled Head’ types have increased anxiety during each unseasonably mild day. The snowmobile crowd will do almost anything for the first taste of white gold. Many times the first tracks on the lake are from a snowmobile.
Have you ever been in really cold water? Polar plunges aside; an unintentional dip into the lake is downright scary. Here are a few tips on how to play safe this winter:
• Assume that no ice is 100% safe
• Ice does not freeze at a uniform thickness across most lakes and rivers. This is very apparent
near moving water
• Clear blue ice is the strongest. White or opaque ice is much weaker. Ice that has a honeycombed look, common during thaws or in the spring, should be avoided altogether.
• 3” (7cm) – KEEP OFF,
• 4” (10cm) – suitable for ice fishing, cross-country skiing and walking (approximately 200lbs),
• 5” (12cm) – single snowmobile or ATV (approximately 800lbs),
• 8”-12” (20-30cm) – one car or a group of people (approx. 1500-2000lbs),
• 12”-15” (30-38cm) – light truck or van.
The long and the short of the matter are to let common sense prevail. It is clear that not unlike the ice it can sometimes be in short supply. Plan ahead – let people know where you are going and when you expect to return. Wear a floater suit – the best way not to end up at the bottom of the lake with your snow machine. Every tragedy starts with someone who thought it couldn’t happen to them. Keep this winter safe and check your ice.
Submitted by Jason Folz, Media/Community Police Liason, Peterborough County OPP,
705-742-0401 Ext. 4650