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Ice Safety

Quick Tips before you venture out onto the lake.... onto any body of water during the winter.

  •  Never assume the entire lake is safe.  Skiff Lake has many streams, culverts and springs that run into the lake.  Plus be reminded we have a lot of rocks, and rocks collect heat.

  • Check ice thickness.  While ice thickness along your shore may meet ice thickness guidelines, 50 meters down the shore or away from the shoreline may not.

  • Never venture out alone.  Also let someone know if you're going out and what route you're taking.  And carry a stick and or ski / walking pole.

  • If you fall through, follow the tips below.  Do Not panic.

Blue ice is your safe ice thickness.  Four inches of blue ice is four inches of thickness.  Snow slush ice (the ice mixed with snow and rain) is HALF the value.  Skiff Lake in the fall of 2022 has not had the cold days needed to form good solid blue ice... 


Know the dangers of ice

Many factors affect ice thickness including type of water, location, the time of year and other environmental factors such as:


  • Water depth and size of body of water.

  • Currents, tides and other moving water.

  • Chemicals including salt.

  • Fluctuations in water levels.

  • Logs, rocks and docks absorbing heat from the sun.

  • Changing air temperature.

  • Shock waves from vehicles traveling on the ice

Ice Colour

  • The colour of ice may be an indication of its strength.

  • Clear blue ice is strongest.

  • White opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice. Opaque ice is formed by wet snow freezing on the ice.

  • Grey ice is unsafe. The grayness indicates the presence of water.


Survival tips if you fall through thin ice

  1. Remain calm. If you fall through the ice, do your best to stay calm. While it’s a very scary situation, don’t flail your arms. This only wastes valuable body heat and energy. Concentrate on staying afloat. It’s estimated after about 10 minutes in the water, hypothermia will set in. 

  2. Focus on controlling your breathing. Due to the extreme coldness of the water, the shock to your body will be intense. Your body’s natural reaction is to gasp for air which can lead to hyperventilating. Hyperventilating can decrease your odds of getting out of the water alive.

  3. Floating horizontal is key. If your body is vertical, it’s nearly impossible to pull yourself out. The ice is slippery, and your wet clothes may be weighing you down. Try to get yourself into a horizontal floating position. Then, kick as hard as you can to try and get yourself to slide horizontally onto the ice.

  4. Call for help. If friends or family are nearby, call for help. However, it’s important that they stay away from the hole, so they don’t fall in. Their best option is to throw you a rope, branch, or anything that you can grab on to. Pulling you out is the safest option for everyone. 

  5. Don’t stand up. Once you get out of the water, your instinct may be to immediately stand up to walk back to shore. Standing up could cause you to fall back into the water. Your best chance of survival is to roll over the ice until you can reach safety.

  6. Warm up slowly. Once you’ve made it back to safety, it’s time to start focusing on warming up your body. Hypothermia can still occur after getting out of the frigid water. Here are things to do:

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