With mild temperatures in the forecast for the next few days, Lambton OPP is reminding winter sports enthusiast to use caution when ‘playing’ around ice.
Police says ice does not freeze at a uniform thickness across most lakes and rivers making ice conditions very unpredicable.
"This can be particularly evident at the start of the winter season when near-shore ice is often much thicker and safer than ice further out, said Cst. Chrystal Jones in a news release.
"Anglers should check thickness regularly with a spud bar or auger as they move further out on the ice," she added.
Authorities say it's important to let others know where you’re planning to fish and advise when you plan to return. If you are missing, rescue crews can narrow their search and potentially save your life.
And, police say parents must watch children closely if they are anywhere near frozen ponds, ditches or area waterways.
The OPP offers the following tips to stay safe around ice this winter.
1) Not all ice is created equal. Ice that has formed over flowing water, springs, pressure cracks, old ice holes or around the mouths of rivers and streams can be weaker than surrounding ice.
2) Clear blue ice is the strongest. White or opaque ice is much weaker. Ice that has a honeycombed look, common during thaws or in the spring, should be avoided altogether.
3) Traveling on frozen lakes or rivers with snowmobiles or vehicles can be particularly dangerous and added precautions must be taken. At least 20 centimeters (eight inches) of clear blue ice is required for snowmobiles and 30 centimeters (12 inches) or more is needed for most light vehicles. Double this amount if the ice is white or opaque.
4) Heavy snow on frozen lakes and rivers can insulate the ice below, causing the ice to freeze slower.