COURTNEY McCLURE, The Standard
SCUGOG: Each year, Lake Scugog opens up a large skating rink to the public. But there are some things residents should know and understand about ice safety. A few factors come into play when considering safety on the lake.
Many factors affect the thickness of the ice forming across Lake Scugog and many other lakes across the province. These factors include the type of water, the location of the lake and other environmental factors. Environmental factors involve the water’s depth and size, chemical levels in the lake (including salt), and water fluctuation.
Did you know the colour of the ice on the lake also plays a factor in safety?
The colour stretching across the lake may tell you the
ice’s strength. Clear, blue ice is the strongest. Opaque or white ice carries half the strength of clear blue ice. The opaque colour is caused by wet snow freezing on top of the ice. If you notice the ice on the lake is a grey colour, it’s deemed unsafe.
Thickness is one consideration while you’re outside enjoying the ice-themed activities.
There is a standard people look for, when measuring the thickness of the ice. Ice must be at least 15 centimetres thick for skating, or walking alone across a frozen body of water. If you’re having a skating party or a large hockey game the ice needs to be a little thicker, measuring at least 20 centimetres in thickness. For snowmobiling, ice needs to be at least 25 centimetres or thicker.
The minimum thickness is guideline for people to follow. Make sure to check with local authorities or the Township in Scugog for ice conditions before heading out onto the lake.
Keep in mind, there may also be signage posted, stating where and when there is a safe surface to go onto the lake. It is also important to avoid going out onto the lake during nighttime.
If you’re on the ice by yourself, there are some things you should keep in mind about ice safety.
There’s a possibility you may stumble upon a weak spot in the ice and fall into the water beneath. One of the things you can do is call for help. Be sure not to try to climb back onto the spot where you fell in, the ice will be weak in that area. Instead, continue kicking your legs and crawl onto another free space of ice. Once you’re back on the ice, crawl or roll away from the open area. An important tip to remember is, don’t stand up.