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Thursday January 3rd, 2013

Posted at 2:00pm

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The Ontario Provincial Police are reminding winter sports enthusiasts to take into consideration these ice facts to prevent a potentially deadly event from unfolding.

  • Ice does not freeze at a uniform thickness across most lakes and rivers. This can be particularly evident at the start of the winter season when near-shore ice is often much thicker and safer than ice further out. Anglers should check thickness regularly with a spud bar or auger as they move further out on the ice.
  • Not all ice is created equal. Ice that has formed over flowing water, springs, pressure cracks, old ice holes or around the mouths of rivers and streams can be weaker than surrounding ice.
  • 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.
  • Traveling on frozen lakes or rivers with snowmobiles or vehicles can be particularly dangerous and added precautions must be taken. At least 20 centimeters (eight inches) of clear blue ice is required for snowmobiles and 30 centimeters (12 inches) or more is needed for most light vehicles. Double this amount if the ice is white or opaque.
  • Heavy snow on frozen lakes and rivers can insulate the ice below, causing the ice to freeze slower.
  • 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 be mindful while children are out of school, as they may venture out on frozen ponds, ditches or area waterways.
  • Winter weather conditions can be unpredictable and variable, proper equipment and experience is necessary to have a safe winter season on the ice.

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