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Use caution when venturing onto ice

Keep safety in mind when skating on frozen bodies of water

With winter settling in, and the skating rink on the lake officially open, it is important to keep in mind safety while out on the ice.

While the Town of Sylvan Lake will be keeping a close eye on the lake, to ensure it is always safe to be on for skating, there are a few things to keep in mind when venturing out onto a frozen surface.

There are many factors to consider when determining whether or not the ice is safe. These factors include but are not limited to, the thickness of the ice.

When figuring out if the ice in question is safe, take into consideration: the water depth and size of body of water, currents, tides and other moving water, and chemicals, including salt, in use, fluctuations in water levels, anything that could be absorbing heat from the sun as well as changing air temperature and shock waves from vehicles traveling on the ice.

According to Alberta’s Environment and Parks, ice on bodies of water are not safe to walk on unless the ice is at least 10 cm, or four inches, thick.

Alberta Parks also recommends the thickness of the ice be no less than 30 cm or 12 inches to drive on.

According to the Red Cross, thickness of the ice isn’t the only important aspect when determining if ice is safe to be on.

The colour of the ice also plays a huge part in determining safety.

The Red Cross says too look for clear blue ice, as it will be the strongest. Cloudy grey ice is considered to be unsafe as it indicate the presence of water, which weakens the ice.

Cloudy white ice, or opaque ice, half as strong as clear blue ice. White opaque ice is formed when wet snow freezes on ice.

The Town of Sylvan Lake is constantly monitoring the ice conditions on the lake. Any updates about ice conditions are said to be posted on the Town’s website and Facebook page.

Currently, Public Works says the ice surface on the lake is “one of the best we’ve had in a long time.”

Going beyond the public skating area is not advised by the Town, and the ice surface is approved for skating only.

Whenever venturing out onto frozen surfaces, stay mindful and stay safe. The Town website advises using “caution when venturing on to any ice surface.”

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