Thin ice is a major problem with the current temperatures. The Government of Saskatchewan sent out a media advisory earlier this week as we continue to shift between fall and winter.
"With temperatures cooling and snow arriving, the Water Security Agency (WSA) is reminding the public to ensure that ice is thick enough to safely walk, drive or snowmobile on." shared the release. "Ice thickness can be unpredictable and difficult to assess at times. It does not freeze at a uniform thickness and its strength can vary considerably from one area to another."
Checking ice thickness will always be the best practice to deem if it's safe. Ice that is 10 cm thick is safe to walk on, ice 20 cm thick can support a snowmobile or ATV, 30 cm of ice is the threshold for supporting a car or light truck, and then anything more than 30 cm is deemed safe enough to support a heavy truck.
Checking the thickness is just one safety consideration to make. If travelling on ice make sure the surface is clear and hard, something that should be checked every time.
"Ice should be re-evaluated on every date visited, even if it was safe on a previous date. The date that ice becomes safe at a site varies year-over-year requiring the verification of the thickness each year as opposed to relying on past experiences."
Other tips include avoiding ice that looks slushy, has thawed and froze over again, or is near moving water. Making sure to avoid layered ice caused by sudden temperature changes, and structures caused by pressure ridges is important too.