As spring is approaching and daily temperatures begin to rise, members of the York Regional Police Marine Unit are reminding residents to stay safe on Lake Simcoe and surrounding bodies of water as the ice conditions are changing rapidly.
Ice fishing enthusiasts are reminded that all fishing huts must be removed from Lake Simcoe by midnight on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
Each year, members of the Marine Unit respond to calls of people, vehicles and pets that have fallen through the ice. Citizens are reminded to keep pets and children away from all ice surfaces during these times where the ice is melting.
Officers have already spotted open areas in the ice, near the mouths of rivers and where there is moving water. The thickness of the ice on Lake Simcoe can vary based on currents below the surface and temperatures above. Uneven cracks can quickly form, resulting in hazardous obstacles for snowmobilers. Check with your local ice hut operators for information in the latest ice conditions.
Remember: No surface of ice or body of water is ever completely safe. It is crucial that citizens take individual responsibility in evaluating the dangers of any recreational activity. If you make educated choices regarding safety, accidents can be prevented.
Following these safety tips can help keep you safe:
- Know the condition of the ice before you go out and remember that changes in the weather can rapidly alter conditions on lakes and streams
- Wear proper clothing and floatation attire
- Never venture out onto the lake alone
- Ensure you have a cell phone with a fully-charged battery in the event of an emergency
- Tell someone where you are going, with whom and what time you will return
Every year, garbage and other materials that are left behind on the ice in the winter are not only pollution, but can be hazards for swimmers and boaters in the spring and summer. Respect the environment and the waterway that you so enjoy. If you took it out on the ice, then take it back on land before the ice melts.
For more information and safety tips, contact the York Regional Police Marine Unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7321.