Ice Safety

If you go onto the ice, here are some recommendations for staying safe:

  • Wear a personal floatation device (e.g. floatation suit or pants).
  • Carry a long pole or harpoon to test the ice in front of you.
  • Carry ice claws to help you get back on the ice in the event of falling through.
  • Bring something to reach or throw to a person (e.g. pole, weighted rope or line) in case of trouble.

Tips about Ice color:

  • Clear blue ice is strongest
  • White opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice.
  • Grey ice is unsafe. The grayness indicates the presence of water.

Recommended Ice Thickness:

  • 15 cm for walking or skating alone
  • 20 cm for skating with others or hockey games
  • 25 cm for snowmobiles

Cracks in the ice are dangerous and common in the spring. There may be "bridges" where the cracks are not completely cracked off and safe to cross.

If you get in trouble while on ice, it is recommended that you:

  • Call for help.
  • Do not attempt to stand up or climb back out where you fell in, The ice could be weak in this area.
  • Maintain a floating position, crawl on your stomach or roll away from the open area with your arms and legs spread out as far as possible to evenly distribute your body weight.
  • Do not stand up! Look for shore or land and crawl out in the right direction.

Safety Equipment 

Remember, it is recommended to always wear a personal flotation device, such as a floatation suit or pants, to reduce the risk of lowering your body temperature to a dangerous level.

As a part of the GN's Water Smart Project, boaters in 18 communities can sign out floatation suits for free at these places:

  • Hunter's and Trapper's Organization: Arviat, Baker Lake, Clyde River, Grise Fiord, Igloolik, Kugaaruk, Pangnirtung, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Rankin Inlet, Resolute Bay, and Whale Cove
  • Hunter's and Trapper's Association: Hall Beach and Kimmirut 
  • Search and Rescue: Chesterfield Inlet and Coral Harbour
  • Baffin Gas Bar: Iqaluit

Sign out a free tracking device, like a SPOT device, at your hamlet office, wildlife office or HTO.