December 03, 2015

Stay Safe When Heading Out onto the Ice

With the recent mild temperatures in Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Environment is reminding people to make sure there is sufficient ice for your safety if you plan on going onto the ice for ice fishing or other activities.

Ice thickness depends on the water body and the surrounding conditions.  Ice does not freeze at a uniform thickness and ice strength can vary considerably from one area to another.

It is important to test the ice thickness before you travel on it.  There should be at least 10 cm (4") of ice to walk on, 15 cm (6") to drive a snowmobile or ATV on, 20 cm (8") to drive a car or light truck on, and 30 cm (12") to drive a heavy truck on.

The ice thickness is a guideline; it is up to individuals to make a decision about whether to venture onto the ice.  Any activity on ice comes with a risk.

Ice thickness also cannot be the sole measure of whether it is safe to go on.  Clear, hard ice is the only ice that is recommended to travel on.

Avoid ice that is:

  • Slushy in appearance.
  • Ice that has thawed then froze again.
  • Ice near moving water.
  • Layered ice caused by sudden temperature changes.

Also, stay away from structures on ice such as pressure ridges.