Heritage Insurance

Greg discusses how to stay safe on frozen lakes in in this episode of Ask The Expert. 800 CHAB radio presents Ask the Expert with Greg Marcyniuk of Heritage Insurance located in Moose Jaw.

Here's a full transcript of the episode.

Rob Carnie: Greg Marcyniuk at Heritage Insurance on "Ask the Expert" today. And Greg, we're talking ice safety today. I know people on social media have been saying, "How could these people be out on the ice fishing already?" There are some cases and some spots out there at Buffalo Lake that are certainly thick enough to drive on and to walk on. But other spots, not so much. And we're here to talk about ice safety. And you're not only an insurance expert, my friend, also an ice fishing expert. So you know the ins and outs out there.

Greg Marcyniuk: Well, I do a lot of research, Rob, on the ice and on the safety on the ice. So the biggest thing in the ice factor is there's a lot of environmental factors such as water depth, size of body of water. And, again, Buffalo Pound isn't that big and it's not that deep. But the other thing is currents moving water from underground springs. I know of about four areas where there's underground springs out of Buffalo Pound, and, as well, ice heaves. And this year, I know of about six that I've seen so far across the lake. So those ice heaves are very dangerous and you've got to watch on the color of the ice - which I'll talk about here in a jiff - changing air temperatures and another thing, the shockwaves from vehicles traveling on the ice. Once people get out on the ice and it's thicker, people tend to drive fast. There's always a wake in front of that. And where there's these heaves, that just keeps moving these heaves, and they are dangerous.

Now, the biggest thing when you're driving on the ice, if you are driving on any vehicle, is looking at that ice color. Clear blue ice is the strongest, and then you've got what they call a white opaque or snow ice. And you'll see where the ice is heaved and there's snow on it. And that opaque ice is formed by wet snow or freezing on the ice, so you really have to be, you know, aware of that. And then, as well, gray ice. Any gray ice is absolutely unsafe. You want to just stay totally clear of that because that grayness indicates the presence of water there.So again, you want to really be careful, and I would go, if you've got any ice heaves, go right closer to the shore. And if you can, get up shore and just avoid them 100%.

Now, as far as thickness is concerned, I've read varying reports. But for safety's sake, six inches is good for walking or skating. Twenty centimeters, or eight inches, it's good for games and skating parties, groups of people. Twenty-five centimeters, or ten inches, is good for snowmobiles or side-by-sides. Thirty centimeters, or 12 inches, is good for light vehicles. And then if you get into heavier vehicles, you want to go out there thicker. So again, you want to go out and, you know, drill with an auger and take a measuring tape with you and check it.

Now, if you are on the ice alone and you get into trouble, you know, call for help as soon as you get in. Resist the immediate urge to climb back and out where you fall in. The ice is weak in that area. Use the air trapped in your clothing to get, you know, into a flotation position on your stomach, and reach forward onto the broken ice without pushing down. Kick your legs to push your torso onto the ice, just kind of like a seal. And when you're back on the ice, crawl in on your stomach or roll away from the open area with your arms and legs spread out as far as possible so you evenly distribute your body, and do not stand up. And again, just make your way to the shore.

So these are ice tips that I really recommend people take some time. They will be on our website. You can check them out at nohassleinsurance.ca or please feel free to drop down and we can talk about it, any one of our fine brokers at the corner of Fairford and First Northwest.

(Video transcription by Speechpad)

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