January 3, 2018 6:30 pm

Extreme cold doesn’t mean all lakes are ready for snowmobiles, OPP warns

Safety tips from Peterborough County OPP for snowmobiling this winter

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While we’ve had some pretty significant cold temperatures recently, it doesn’t mean all of our lakes are ready for snowmobile riding, says Constable Jason Folz from Peterborough County OPP.

“We want people to understand that no body of water freezes the same, and that no ice is 100 per cent safe for snowmobiling and other activities,” Folz said. “They really have to check ice conditions before they go out.”

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Whether you’re out snowmobiling, skating, skiing or even walking on ice, you’re always advised to have a plan.

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“They have to know the area they are going into, and have a plan and let people know where they are going and when they plan to be back,” Folz said.

Snowmobiling safety tips include: stay on the trail; choose the right time and place to go out; spread out from other riders; be vigilant of what’s happening around you; keep your sled on the right side to increase your chance of staying out of harm’s way; and know before you go — fully skim the area before you head out.

As always, having the proper gear is a must.

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“We wear buoyant floater suits, which is a buoyant coat, buoyant leggings,” said Constable Mike Gravelle with Peterborough County OPP.

Gravelle also recommends bringing an ice pick with you in case you need to pull yourself out of the water.

“We wear them around our neck,” Gravelle said. “It just allows you that more of a grip to drag yourself on to the surface of the ice.”

Of course, the OPP advises you always wear a helmet. But police also recommend you bring a cell phone with GPS capability in case you get lost on the ice.

While the OPP is out patrolling every year, there are always incidents of impaired operation and people breaking through the ice. So, always be vigilant and have a plan before you hit the ice.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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