Recent ice-related accidents prompt Water Security Agency to warn people of ice thickness

The Water Security Agency says it’s reissuing a public advisory for people to make sure they check for ice thickness on bodies of water before moving over them.

The organization says the warning is due to a mixture of warm weather along with recent serious ice-related incidents over the holiday season in the southeastern region of Saskatchewan.

A news release from the agency says whether it’s walking, snowmobiling or driving across waterbodies, ice thickness must be checked before attempting any winter activities.

“As a guideline, you need at least 10 cm (four inches) of ice to walk on, 20 cm (eight inches) to drive a snowmobile or ATV on, 30 cm (12 inches) to drive a car or light truck on, and more than 30 cm (12 inches) to support a heavy truck,” reads the statement from the Water Security Agency.

“Guidelines are provided to help individuals make a decision about whether to venture on to the ice.  Thickness is just one consideration when evaluating ice safety.  Clear, hard ice is the only ice recommended for travel.”

The release notes that ice strength can vary considerably from one area to another and that ice should be re-evaluated on every date visited, even if it was safe on a previous date.

The Water Security Agency suggests the following signs to avoid ice:

  • if it looks slushy;
  • has thawed, then froze again;
  • is near moving water;
  • is layered, caused by sudden temperature changes; or
  • has structures on it, such as pressure ridges.

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