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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Police warn lakes and streams are still not frozen in area

Police warn lakes and streams are still not frozen in area


The York Regional Police Marine Unit would like to remind everyone of the importance of staying safe this winter season in any outdoor activity they do. Through awareness, enforcement and public education, police are warning citizens to be diligent and stay off the ice until it is safe.

The unseasonably warm weather and rain we have experienced over the last week has prompted York Regional Police to again warn the public that lakes and streams are not frozen and not safe. There are still many areas of open water on Lake Simcoe and ice fishermen and snowmobilers are reminded that conditions are still too dangerous to be out on the ice.

Police are also reminding parents to be diligent and to teach their children to stay away from lakes and streams. The mild weather can result in higher water levels and faster-flowing

currents. Be cautious around any body of water until it is completely frozen.

Remember, no ice is completely safe. Any individual who decides to go out onto a frozen body of water must make a personal decision to do so, realizing that there is a degree of risk associated with this choice.

Ice seldom freezes at a uniform rate. What constitutes a safe depth of ice is difficult to apply in all cases. While three inches of ice on a farm pond may pose little danger, that same three inches on a moving stream or lake with currents could be very dangerous. On any lake, one step from threefoot ice may lead to nothing more than skim ice on the next step.

It is crucial that citizens considering recreation on the ice take individual responsibility in evaluating the quality and soundness of the ice on the particular body of water in question. If you are testing for ice

thickness follow these safety precautions:  Wear proper floatation attire.  Don’t fish or snowmobile alone.  Tell someone about your plans and specifically where you are going.  Know the condition of the ice before you go out and take into consideration the recent changes the weather may have had on the ice.  Be suspicious of gray, dark or porous spots in the ice as these may be soft areas. Ice is generally strongest where it is hard and blue.

Police are reminding the public that snowmobiling and ice-fishing are inherently risky activities, occurring in an uncontrolled and unpredictable natural setting. If you make smart, educated choices on safety, accidents can be prevented.

For more information and safety tips, contact the York Regional Police Marine Unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext 7300.

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