With temperatures remaining warm and an eagerness for outdoor activity, the Lifesaving Society of Manitoba is addressing ice safety.
Water Smart and Safety Management Coordinator Dr. Christopher Love says ice thickness should be measured before any activity on it.
“If you’re just going out walking on the ice, skating, or snowshoeing on the surface, our minimum recommendation is 10 cm,” Love informs. “If you’re looking to do something with a little bit more weight on the ice, such as ice fishing, then you’re going up to 12 cm.”
Love suggests that if a vehicle is brought out onto the ice, the thickness should progressively increase in accordance with the weight of the vehicle.
On top of that, Love says the ice must be of a certain makeup. “You need to make sure the ice you’re dealing with is what we call new, clear, hard ice,” says Love before warning that the conditions in the province are not what we are seeing.
“We’ve had these fluctuating temperatures,” he explains, “which means any ice that has formed is going to be weakened and might start melting.”
In addition, Love says that any time someone ventures out onto the ice, they should be wearing something that floats.
“That could mean pulling out the lifejacket you used in your boat in the summer, and it sounds silly, but if you fall through the ice and into cold water, you want to be able to float and keep your head up so that you don’t get pulled under by any current.”
Love says ice is unpredictable and is never 100% safe and so urges all activity seekers to take the recommended precaution.