Family Day Weekend Snowmobile Safety

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) Marine, Dive and Trails Unit snowmobiles will be out on local trails throughout the Family Day long weekend. They will be doing routine stops, photo radar and RIDE checkpoints.

“Many fatalities on snowmobile trails involve alcohol. The laws regarding impairment and snowmobiling are the same as operating a car or a boat,” said OPS MDT Acting Sergeant Walter Lushman. “We conduct this type of enforcement to ensure drivers are being responsible, for everyone’s safety.”While most residents will be happy to soon welcome increased temperatures, the Ottawa Police Service is reminding residents of the many dangers that may arise as the snow begins to melt.

Here is some advice to keep out of danger: 

  • Ice is inherently dangerous at this time of year and is always unpredictable. Stay away from open bodies of water. Always supervise children playing outside who may wander or want to play near rivers, ponds, creeks or ditches etc. A child can drown in less than two inches (5 cm) of water.
  • Less than three inches (8 cm) of ice thickness is a hazardous environment. 
  • Falling into water at this time of year can lead to hypothermia and death. 
  • Cold water temperatures at this time of year can prevent even strong swimmers from escaping once they’ve fallen through the ice.
  • If snowmobiling, stay safe on the trails and away from water or thin ice. Over half of drownings related to snowmobiling occur after dark and consumption of alcohol and/or drugs continues to be a contributing factor in snowmobiling-related drownings.

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