WINNIPEG - Lifesaving Society Manitoba says above average and fluctuating temperatures in the province are making it dangerous to go on any frozen bodies of water. The 110-year-old branch of the Royal Life Saving Society warns that while it may still be thicker than the recommended ten-centimetre minimum, all ice in the province is now unpredictable, and unsafe as a result.
The water survival experts say those who must venture onto the ice should have a plan for what to do to survive a plunge into an icy stream, pond, river, or lake. The Society’s Water Smart program recommends wearing a floatation device of some kind, and having someone else with you whenever stepping onto ice in unstable conditions.
The Society has an ice safety checklist available on their website, as well as other resources to educate Manitobans on how to stay safe both in the winter and during the spring thaw. They note that even in the coldest days of winter, being on the ice carries at least some amount of risk.
The organization says 450 to 500 people in Canada die from drowning. Their Water Smart program provides educational materials for all ages year round, including colouring and activity books for kids age 3 to 10.