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River Ice Safety

The Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition, in conjunction with the City of Ottawa, warns residents about the dangers of thin ice. Rivers and lakes may look solid but can be dangerous, especially where current is present, near a dam, near drainage outlets or pipes, and near river junctions. Ice fishing huts set up in the spring need to be extra careful.

Safe ice thickness needs to be:

  • 15 cm (6") for walking or skating alone
  • 20 cm (8") for skating groups or games
  • 25 cm (10") for snowmobiles
  • 35 cm (14") for fishing huts

Clear blue ice is usually the strongest. White opaque (snow ice) is half as strong as blue ice. Grey ice is unsafe, indicating the presence of water.

 

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