It’s that time of the year again when residents are starting to get out of their ice-fishing shacks.
However, residents are reminded to ensure that the ice is thick enough to walk or drive on.
The Water Security Agency’s guideline is 10 cm of ice to walk on, 20 cm to drive a snowmobile or ATV on, 30 cm to drive a car and more than 30 cm to drive a pickup truck.
Moose Jaw Fire Department public education officer Cathie Bassett said ice thicknesses can vary depending on the water type, location, time of the year and other environmental factors.
She said it isn’t worth rushing to get your ice fishing shack out on the lake.
“We’ve seen that before where the shacks and the trucks go down in the ice and it’s not worth getting out there being the first one out to get that line in the hole,” Bassett said.
She added that there are clues to look for to know how thick the ice is.
“The colour of the ice may be an indication of its strength. So, for example, clear blue ice is the strongest, so you want to look for that kind of ice that is perfect to go on,” Bassett said.
Ice that is white means that there is snow frozen into the ice, so it is half as strong. Grey ice is the weakest as the greyish colour means there is the presence of water.
If you do fall in and you are alone, stay calm and turn towards shore and call for help. Bassett recommends that you reach out to the broken ice and kick your legs to get into a horizontal position and crawl out. Once you are out, do not stand up, but crawl back to shore to distribute your weight across the ice.
If you are with someone, have them go back to shore and call for help. If they can find a branch or pole to safely reach the person they can do so while keeping a safe distance.
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