Press Release –
“They say the ice is safe.” That’s the mysterious rumour often circulated at this time of year among the outdoor fraternity; no one knows who “they” are or where their misinformation started. But in the early weeks of every winter, a few outdoor enthusiasts take it as gospel and have close calls or pay with their lives, as occurred this past weekend in central Ontario. Consequently, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) reminds everyone yet again that no ice can be considered 100% safe for travel by any motorized recreational vehicles or trucks, especially at this time of year.
To avoid ice risks, the OFSC recommends that snowmobilers ride open, land-based, OFSC trails whenever possible. OFSC clubs provide many trails that avoid water crossings altogether and also provide many bridges and culverts to pass over known water safely.
If you do make the personal choice to travel on ice by snowmobile, wait until a marked stake line is in place and cross only when you can follow it from shore to shore, without stopping on the ice. While ice crossing is never a sure thing, snowmobilers can also reduce their risk by:
• Never travelling on ice because “they” say it is safe.
• Understanding that ice conditions may vary from day to day, from hour to hour and from place to place.
• Checking ice thickness before riding onto any frozen water. At least 15 centimetres (6 inches) of clear, hard ice is needed to support one snowmobile.
• Never travelling on ice alone, at night or after consuming alcohol.
• Avoiding slushy ice, untracked ice, or ice near moving water.
• Staying off ice early or late in the season or after any sudden and pronounced melt, thaw or rain.
• Wearing a buoyant snowmobile suit and carrying ice picks.
Remember, you always enter ice at your own risk; neither the OFSC nor its member clubs accept any responsibility or liability for ice crossings or variations in ice conditions.