Browser Compatibility Notification
It appears you are trying to access this site using an outdated browser. As a result, parts of the site may not function properly for you. We recommend updating your browser to its most recent version at your earliest convenience.

Emergency? Call 9-1-1

Non-Emergency? Call 1 (866) 876-5423

Ice Safety

Decrease Text Size Default Text Size Increase Text Size |
Print Link

People in yellow vests in icy water

Some winter enthusiasts can't wait to skate, fish or snowmobile on the many waterways in York Region. You must exercise caution before participating in any of these cold weather activities to ensure your safety. Every year, York Regional Police officers responded to emergencies where citizens have fallen through the ice. Be sure to follow these tips before heading out. 

  • Know the condition of the ice before you go out and take into consideration the recent changes the weather may have had on the ice
  • Wear the appropriate clothing and ensure you wear a certified flotation device
  • Be suspicious of gray, dark or porous spots in the ice as these may be soft areas. Ice is generally strongest where it is hard and blue
  • White opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice. Opaque ice is formed by wet snow freezing on the ice
  • Grey ice is unsafe
  • Tell someone your plans, where you will be, with whom and what time you are expected back at shore
  • Watch for pressure cracks, open bodies of water and ice flows as these are sure signs ice is not safe and should be avoided
  • Call for help. Consider whether you can quickly get help from trained professionals (police, fire fighters or ambulance) or bystanders
  • If you get into trouble on ice and you're by yourself resist the immediate urge to climb back out where you fell in as the ice will be weak in this area
  • Use the air trapped in your clothing to get into a floating position on your stomach
  • Reach forward onto the broken ice without pushing down. Kick your legs to push your torso on the ice.
  • When you are back on the ice, crawl on your stomach or roll away from the open area with your arms and legs spread out as far as possible to evenly distribute your body weight. Do not stand up! Look for shore and make sure you are going in the right direction

Remember, large waterways can be unpredictable, so use extra discretion when participating on activities on Lake Simcoe.