Skating? Make sure the ice is 4 inches thick, lifesaving society says

As the skating seasons ramps up across the province, the Lifesaving Society of Newfoundland and Labrador is reminding people to check ice thickness before heading out on the pond.
Many people are taking advantage of the chilly weather and iced-over ponds to go skating. The Lifesaving Society is encouraging people to check the thickness of the ice before heading out. (Submitted by Walter Fowler)

As the skating season ramps up across the province, the Lifesaving Society of Newfoundland and Labrador is reminding people to check ice thickness before heading out on the pond. 

Ice should be at least four inches thick if you plan on walking, skating, ice fishing or cross-country skiing, the society said in a news release.

If you plan on driving across a body of water with a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle, the ice needs to be five inches thick.

The society said of 96 drownings between 2008 and 2012, 10 were ice and snowmobile-related.

"Based on yearly statistics, the Lifesaving Society's education and public relations programs continue to remind Newfoundlanders of ice safety, and advise staying off ice covered bodies of water altogether," the society said.

"However, if people do decide to venture onto the ice, they should be aware of factors involved in ice formation, safety precautions and weather conditions and be prepared if they fall through the ice."

The thickness guidelines apply to new, clean ice surfaces under ideal conditions. 

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