Ice Fishing Safety Tips

Here are some Ice Fishing Safety Tips:

  • According to The Lifesaving Society, Canada’s Lifeguarding Experts, there were 22 ice-related deaths in Ontario in 1998, four of them related to ice fishing
  • On average four or five ice fishing deaths occur in North America every winter, usually the result of a combination of thin ice, too much booze, and not enough brains.
  • River ice is usually 15% weaker than pond or lake ice. New ice is usually stronger than old ice. As ice ages, the bond between the crystals decays, making it weaker even if melting has not occurred.
  • Slush is a danger sign. It indicates that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom and indicates weak or deteriorated ice.



Ice is never 100% safe: If you do venture onto the ice, remember:

1. Check the weather and avoid ice-related activities on warm or stormy days.

2. Check ice conditions with knowledgeable local individuals (e.g. city staff, police, snowmobile clubs, etc.). Obey all ice warning signs.

3. Avoid vehicle travel on ice whenever possible, especially if you have been drinking alcohol. Remember that even one drink can dull your senses, slow your reaction time and impair your judgment.

4. Keep away from unfamiliar paths or unknown ice, and avoid traveling on the ice at night.

5. Never go onto the ice alone. A buddy may be able to rescue you or go for help if you get into difficulty.

6. Before you leave the shore, inform someone of your destination and expected time of return.

7. A thermal protection buoyant suit will increase your chances of survival if you do go through the ice. If you do not have one, wear a lifejacket/personal flotation device (PFD) over an ordinary snowmobile suit or layered winter clothing.

8. Assemble a small personal safety kit, no larger than the size of a man’s wallet, to carry on your person. The kit should include a lighter, waterproof matches, or magnesium fire starter, pocketknife, compass, and whistle.

9. In addition to the above safety equipment, you should also carry ice picks, an ice staff and rope. A cellular phone could also help save your life.

10. Insist that children, if they do play on ice, are always under adult supervision. Children not within arm’s reach have ventured too far.

11. Have Fun and be sure to Post your Ice Fishing Photos on our Facebook Page with Hashtag #fishncanada

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