Winter & Ice Safety

Click here to download a handy Ice Safety handout from the Lifesaving Society

Click here to download a handy Ice Safety handout from the Lifesaving Society

Drowning can occur at any time of year. In fact, every year 1/3 of all drownings in Manitoba occur during the colder months between October and April. Many of these drownings occur on ice and involve recreational snowmobiling.

Share what you know! Download our Ice Smart Brochure and help your friends and family prepare to be safe in, on, and around ice.

Winter Smart Ice Safety Clinics

The Lifesaving Society – Manitoba Branch presents a Winter Smart Ice Safety clinic, which teaches participants how to be safe in, on, and around the ice. Topics include preparing for the unexpected and cold-related emergencies. If you’re interested in booking a Sledsmart presentation for your community group, please contact the Water Smart® Coordinator. The program can also be taught by any Lifesaving Instructor with the resources from the Branch office.

Listen to our radio announcement about snowmobiling safety.



Click here to see the Lifesaving Society's Recommended Minimum Ice Thicknesses

Click the image to see the Lifesaving Society’s Recommended Minimum Ice Thicknesses

Ice Safety Tips

  • Check the weather and avoid going on the ice on warm or stormy days
  • Have trained people test ice thickness.
  • Avoid vehicle travel on ice whenever possible.
  • Keep away from unfamiliar paths or unknown ice.
  • Never go onto the ice alone.
  • Before you leave shore, inform someone of your destination and expected time of return.
  • Wear a buoyant suit or lifejacket whenever you are on the ice. It could save your life.
  • Carry ice picks, ice poles, and rope.
  • Avoid going on ice at night.

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Ice Myths & Cold Realities

Do you think thick ice is stronger than thin ice? You may be surprised to learn that even thick ice may be weak if it is “rotten” or contains layers of snow. Rotten ice has frozen and thawed repeatedly, making it potentially fragile even when it appears solid. Learn about other Ice Myths & Cold Realities!


The 1/10/1 Principle

University of Manitoba professor Gordon Giesbrecht developed the 1/10/1 Principle to explain the three stages of cold water immersion.

  • 1 minute of cold shock, which looks like gasping. Get your breathing back under control.
  • 10 minutes of meaningful movement before your body starts to lose effective use of fingers, arms, legs.
  • 1 hour before hypothermia causes unconsciousness.

Wearing lifejackets and personal flotation devices (PFDs) can help reduce the effects of cold water immersion drastically and can keep you afloat while you control your breathing in the critical first stage of Cold Shock. It is important to stay calm so that you can focus on getting out of the water as soon as possible before you lose mobility and hypothermia eventually sets in.

Learn more at Cold Water Bootcamp.


Winter and Car Survival Kits

There are many great websites with information on Winter and Car Survival Kits, such as Preparing an Emergency Kit for Your Car and Transport Canada’s Winter Driving Emergency Kit. Be prepared!

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