With more people getting outside and onto the frozen rivers and lakes, the RCMP have tips to do so in a safe manner.

"With the health restrictions for COVID-19 still in place, Manitobans are definitely reaching out to the great outdoors to gain some semblance of normalcy," says Tara Seel, Media Relations with the RCMP.

While most of the open bodies of water in Manitoba are frozen enough to be safe, not all are. 

"There's definitely been a surge of popularity for ice fishing. The RCMP has seen that from a patrolling perspective. We've seen far more ice shacks than in previous years."

Seel offers some safety tips for people going out onto the frozen river or lake this time of year. 

"One of the main things is that the ice is multi-use," she says. "People have to remember that there's not only people ice fishing, but also people driving vehicles, snowmobiles, people cross-country skiing or skating, people walking and letting their dogs off-leash and that's where we need to focus on safety."

Seel encourages those in vehicles on the ice to slow down and watch their surroundings for pets and people doing other activities. 

"Because of the more mild temperatures there are some spots of open water and we have seen some people who've been on pieces of ice that have broken off and floated away, and have needed to be rescued."

The RCMP also wants the public to know that consuming alcohol or cannabis on the ice is illegal and can quickly lead to a dangerous situation. 

"If you are setting up a shelter and you're using a heater, make sure that you have ventilation, making sure that you're letting fresh air in."

The tips are meant for Manitobans to stay safe this winter while on the ice. 

"We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, get outside and some fresh air, get rid of that cabin fever," says Seel.