Many of Lakestyle’s favourite winter activities take place near or on the ice. Ice usually appears on our Alberta lakes in mid to late fall and can remain well into the spring. As much as we love to skate, toboggan, and go ice fishing on the lake during the winter months, it’s important to stay safe.
Here are some great safety tips to keep in mind when playing near or on the ice:
- Obey posted signs on when and where ice surface is acceptable for activities.
- Avoid traveling on any ice in non-daylight hours.
- Know the fishing regulations for the lake your fishing on.
- Never walk on ice that is less than 15 cm thick and do not drive on ice that is less than 30 cm thick.
- Beware of ice near the entrance and exits of streams and rivers. Ice can vary in thickness and strength from area to area because of temperature, water current, springs, snow cover, and time of year.
- Fish with a buddy, for increased safety. Make sure to discuss a rescue plan before one is needed.
- If your pet falls through the ice, call for help. Resist the temptation to go out onto the ice after them, the ice is likely not going to hold your weight either.
- If you are driving a vehicle on frozen water, do not drive fast, do not follow closely behind or park near another vehicle on the ice. Ice can bend and crack under the weight of people, vehicles or heavy snow.
- Keep an eye on ice and snow conditions ahead of you while driving, as the ice conditions can change rapidly from one area to another.
- Always check the forecast, you don’t want to get caught out on the ice in a storm.
- When travelling in a vehicle on lake ice, keep your seat belts off, open your window a crack, and half unlatch your door so it can be opened quickly.
- Always carry a shovel and tow rope in your vehicle.
- Wear a flotation device and cold protection suit, even if you’re fishing from shore or on thick ice.
- Always carry waterproof matches and nails or spikes in your pocket to help you get out of the water.
If you fall through the ice and into the freezing lake water:
- Go to the ice edge and break your way to ice that can hold your weight.
- Crawl on your belly up on the ice, spreading your weight as far as possible. Use nails or spikes for added traction.
- Crawl on your belly, keeping weight distributed until you reach solid ground. Standing up prematurely may mean that you fall through the ice again.
- Immediately seek a warm place to remove wet clothes. Hypothermia can set in quickly if you do not take proper steps to get dry and warm.
Consider bringing along a Safety Kit for Ice Fishing. You will need:
- Ice picks, rope, cell phone (in a waterproof container) and a first aid kit. Other safety equipment to be considered includes: flashlight, waterproof matches/lighter, tool kit, candles and survival blanket.
Lakestyle is a company founded on a desire to help people fulfill their lake lifestyle dreams. By utilizing easy to maintain dock systems and accessories, people are able to spend less time working and more time having fun! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @LakestyleCA!