As spring is approaching and daily temperatures begin to rise, members of the York Regional Police Marine Unit are reminding residents of the importance of staying safe on Lake Simcoe and surrounding bodies of water as the ice conditions can change quickly, and without warning.
Each year the Marine Unit responds to calls of people, vehicles and pets that have fallen through the ice. Police are reminding residents 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.
Police want to stress the reminder that 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 educated choices are made regarding safety, accidents can be prevented.
Knowing the condition of the ice before you go out and remember that changes in the weather can rapidly alter conditions on lakes and streams can help ensure safety while out on open lakes. As well as wearing proper clothing and floatation attire, never venturing out on the lake alone, and ensuring you carry a cell phone with a fully charged battery in the event of an emergency. Police also remind residents to tell someone where you are going, with who, and when you intend to return.
For ice fishing enthusiasts, a reminder that all fishing huts must be removed from Lake Simcoe by midnight on Friday, March 15, 2019. York Regional Police and the Ministry of Natural Resources will be enforcing this regulation.
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.