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No Ice is Safe Ice Police Say

After two snowmobiles went through the ice on Jack Lake early New Year’s day, the OPP and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) are reminding snowmobilers that no ice can be considered 100 per cent safe to ride on. Fortunately the two drivers and two passengers managed to get out of the water and make it to safety, but that is a rare outcome. When ice forms early and may look safe, it is likely not yet thick, strong, or stable enough to support much weight. This also applies when waterways experience prolonged periods of thaw or rain which can cause ice to weaken suddenly, and towards spring after ice begins to deteriorate from milder temperatures. Staying on land-based OFSC prescribed trails whenever possible offers the safest snowmobile terrain.
If you do decide to risk travelling on ice by snowmobile, wait until a marked stake line is in place and cross only when you can follow it directly from shore to shore, without stopping on the ice. While ice crossing is never a sure thing, snowmobilers can also reduce their risk by:
·         Checking ice thickness and quality before riding onto any frozen water.
·         Understanding that ice conditions may vary from day-to-day, from hour to hour and from place to place.
·         Never travelling on ice alone, at night or while impaired.
·         Avoiding slushy ice, untracked ice, or ice near moving water or dock bubblers.
·         Watching out for obstacles like rocks, stumps, docks, ice roads and fishing huts.
·         Wearing a buoyant snowmobile suit and carrying ice picks.

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