No ice is safe ice. That’s according to the South Porcupine OPP who is raising awareness on proper ice safety. They say ice doesn’t freeze at the same thickness throughout the body of water, so the thickness of the ice should be checked regularly as you move further out. The strongest ice is blue, with white or opaque ice being thin. Detachment Commander Dan Foy says any ice related rescue has the potential to put the lives of any first responder at risk.

Safety Tips from the OPP:

Ice safety and weight-bearing properties of ice can be affected by many factors, including thickness, currents, age of ice, pressure cracks and snow cover.  Ice does not freeze at uniform thickness across bodies of water.  Thickness should be checked regularly as you move further out onto the ice.

The strongest ice is clear blue in colour.  White or opaque ice is much weaker.  A layer of heavy snow on a frozen lake or river can insulate the ice below and slow down freezing.  Travelling on ice with snowmobiles or vehicles can be potentially very dangerous and added precautions must be taken.  At least 10 centimetres (4inches) of clear blue ice is required for walking on, 20 centimetres (8inches) for snowmobiles and 30 centimetres (12 inches) minimum is needed for most light vehicles.

Proper use of safety equipment can reduce the risks of travelling over ice covered bodies of water.  Some of these include the wearing of survival suits, carrying picks (used to grip ice to pull yourself out of the water), and carrying a rescue rope.

Children should not play near or on ice covered bodies of water unless supervised by an experienced, safety-conscious adult who is familiar with local conditions and currents.