February 15, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood; Safety on the Ice.

February 15, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood;
Safety on the Ice.

Ottawans are very lucky to live near waterways that contribute greatly to our enjoyment of the outdoors. From the Rideau Canal running through the centre of the city, to the great Ottawa River, to any number of nearby lakes, big and small, there’s plenty of water around for us to enjoy, even in winter when it freezes over.

Then it’s time for skating, ice fishing (my favourite!), snowmobiling and maybe just the feeling of being able to walk on water. These are all great ways to make the most of winter as long as we don’t forget that the ice is one layer away from really, really cold water.

It’s easy to think that as long as there’s ice, we’re protected from the freezing winter water. But not all ice is safe. Here are a few guidelines for judging the safety of ice thickness:

  • 15 cm for walking or skating alone,
  • 20 cm for skating parties or games,
  • 25 cm for snowmobiles,
  • 35 cm for fishing huts.

If it’s difficult to measure the thickness of the ice, colour can also be a good clue to ice safety. Clear blue ice is usually the strongest, white opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice. Grey ice is unsafe. The greyness indicates the presence of water.

Before venturing onto the ice, check the Lifesaving Society’s ( http://www.lifesavingsociety.com ) guidelines for staying safe, and review guidelines by the Canadian Red Cross ( http://www.redcross.ca ) on what to do if you get into trouble on the ice. When in doubt, be prudent and just stay off the ice.

This information about ice safety can be found on the Ottawa Police web site at http://www.ottawapolice.ca . Pay the site a visit for information about all kinds of safety issues that could save a life.


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