Due to continuing warm weather as well as recent incidents in South East Saskatchewan, the Water Security Agency is reissuing an advisory to ensure the public checks ice thickness on waterbodies before walking, snowmobiling or driving across them.

 There have been several serious ice-related incidents over the holiday season.  The continuing warm weather through many areas of Saskatchewan represents a risk that all Saskatchewan people to heed.  Ice thickness must be checked before attempting any wintertime activities.

As a guideline, you need at least 10 cm (four inches) of ice to walk on, 20 cm (eight inches) to drive a snowmobile or ATV on, 30 cm (12 inches) to drive a car or light truck on, and more than 30 cm (12 inches) to support a heavy truck.

Guidelines are provided to help individuals make a decision about whether to venture on to the ice.  Thickness is just one consideration when evaluating ice safety.  Clear, hard ice is the only ice recommended for travel.

Ice does not freeze at a uniform thickness and ice strength can vary considerably from one area to another. Ice should be re-evaluated on every date visited, even if was safe on a previous date.  The date that ice becomes safe at a site varies from year to year requiring the verification of the thickness each year as opposed to relying on past experiences.

Also avoid ice that:

  • looks slushy;
  • has thawed, then froze again
  • is near moving water;
  • is layered, caused by sudden temperature changes; or
  • has structures on it, such as pressure ridges.