Ice fishing safety - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Monday, 29 January 2018

Ice fishing safety

#AskJeremyDiamond

Ontario’s 250,000 lakes with winter temperatures that plummet to minus 40 degrees Celsius make it a popular destination for people who enjoy ice fishing. Venturing out on a frozen lake or other body of water for a day of fishing can quickly turn from an enjoyable recreational activity into a deadly encounter. According to the Canadian Red Cross, 9 percent of all water immersion deaths involving ice occurred while the victims were engaged in hunting or fishing activities. There is no reason you cannot go ice fishing without being injured or killed in an accident as long as you practice a few safety precautions.

Don’t trust the ice

Never venture onto a frozen lake, pond or river without measuring the thickness of the ice. Keep in mind that ice nearer the shore could be thicker in parts of the body of water located a distance from the shoreline. Check the thickness of the ice at regular intervals as you move across it to make certain it is strong enough to support your weight.

When walking on a frozen body of water, be careful when approaching cracks in the ice or old holes other anglers might have abandoned. These locations can be weaker than the ice surfaces around them.

Check the colour of the ice

Ice that is white or appears opaque may not be strong enough to support your weight as you walk on it. The strongest ice is usually appears as a clear blue colour. Ice exhibiting a honeycomb effect is usually the result of thawing and should not be walked upon.

Never rely solely on the colour of the ice to determine if it is strong enough to ice fishing. Be safe and measure the thickness to confirm what the colour is telling you.

Be aware of what you bring onto the ice

If you travelling onto the ice with a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle, you must allow for the additional weight when evaluating whether the ice is thick enough to cross to your ice fishing location. Before taking a snowmobile onto frozen water, measure the thickness of the ice to make certain it is a minimum of 20 centimeteres thick. You want the ice to be at least 30 cm thick if you are travelling in a heavier vehicle or if you loaded your snowmobile with a lot of gear to take onto the ice.

Remember about checking the colour of the ice as an indicator of its ability to hold your weight, it is even more critical when taking vehicles onto the ice. Even if the ice thickness measures 20 cm and you think it is safe to take your snowmobile onto it, check the colour. White or opaque ice, even at 20 cm thickness is probably too weak to handle the weight of a snowmobile. You want it to be at least 40 cm under those conditions.

Fish with a friend or let someone know you are going fishing

It is always more fun to go ice fishing with a friend. A fishing companion also provides an added level of safety in the event one of you falls through the ice. Bring a rope and first aid kit along in case of emergencies, and you should always have a cellphone with you.

If going out by yourself onto the ice, let someone know where you are going and the time you expect to return. It’s always a good idea to wear a flotation device, but it is essential to do so if you are going fishing alone.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation on behalf of people injured in accidents. Learn more about how we can help by contacting our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or by visiting our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Consultations are free, and we have offices located throughout Ontario.

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