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Be Ice Smart This Winter

Released on November 17, 2022

With the arrival of snow and colder temperatures, the Water Security Agency is reminding the public to ensure that ice is thick enough to safely walk, drive or snowmobile on.

"As people get ready to enjoy another season on the ice, their safety is always top of mind for the Government of Saskatchewan," Minister Responsible for the Water Security Agency Jeremy Cockrill said. "We recommend checking ice thickness each and every time you venture on our provincial waters to ensure you are safe this winter.

Ice thickness can be deceptive and unpredictable at times. It does not freeze at a uniform thickness and its strength can vary considerably from one area to another. 

To be sure, check the ice thickness before you travel on it. As a guideline, you need at least 10 cm (four inches) of ice to walk on, 20 cm (eight inches) to drive a snowmobile or ATV on, 30 cm (12 inches) to drive a car or light truck on, and more than 30 cm (12 inches) to support a heavy truck. 


Guidelines are provided to help individuals decide whether to venture onto the ice. Thickness is just one consideration when evaluating ice safety. Clear, hard ice is the only ice recommended for travel. 

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.

Also avoid ice that:

  • looks slushy;
  • has thawed, then froze again;
  • is near moving water;
  • is layered, caused by sudden temperature changes; or
  • has structures on it, such as pressure ridges.


For more information, contact:

Patrick Boyle
Water Security Agency
Moose Jaw
Phone: 306-631-6997

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