Skat­ing on thin ice

Do you know how safe your lo­cal ponds and rivers are for skat­ing?

The Compass - - OPINION - BY MELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ ed­i­tor@CB­N­com­

The tem­per­a­ture was slightly be­low freez­ing on Thurs­day, Jan. 8, and a thick layer of snow cov­ered most of Car­bon­ear pond.

As the sun was set­ting, a group of teenage boys were pre­par­ing for a late game of pond hockey, some­thing common for kids in the area.

The boys in their win­ter coats and skates shov­eled off a sec­tion ap­prox­i­mately seven me­tres by seven me­tres and set up a hockey net.

After grab­bing their sticks, the kids hit the ice.

With un­pre­dictable tem­per­a­tures on the Avalon Penin­sula so far this year, some on­look­ers ques­tioned whether the ice was thick enough to skate on.

Was it safe?

The newly formed ice wasn’t frozen three days prior, when the tem­per­a­ture reached dou­ble dig­its.

Tues­day, Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day, the tem­per­a­ture was be­low zero de­grees Cel­sius, freez­ing much the pond. There was wa­ter on each side of the makeshift rink while the chil­dren skated.

In a pre­vi­ous in­ter­view with The Com­pass, the town’s recre­ation di­rec­tor an­nounced a new out­door skat­ing rink would soon open at the Car­bon­ear Recre­ation Com­plex on Val­ley Road. He ex­plained the in­tent was to pre­vent peo­ple from skat­ing on the pond be­cause of po­ten­tial dan­gers.

Many didn’t heed the warn­ing, but there have been no re­ported in­ci­dents on Car­bon­ear Pond so far this year.

Ice safety

But how does some­one de­ter­mine if the ice on a lo­cal pond or river is thick enough to skate on? What about on a snow mo­bile?

The Com­pass spoke with the Cana­dian Red Cross to learn about ideal ice con­di­tions and how to know whether the ice is suit­able to be on.

Many things con­trib­ute to the thick­ness of ice, in­clud­ing whether it’s fresh or salt wa­ter and the lo­ca­tion. Some of the other fac­tors in­clude the depth and size, tides, wa­ter level changes and shock­waves from ve­hi­cles on the ice.

Red Cross spokesman Dan Bedell ex­plained one thing to check to en­sure the ice is safe is the depth of the ice. By dig­ging test holes, he said, you can find out if the ice is thick enough for dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties.

The min­i­mum rec­om­mended thick­ness for a sin­gle per­son to walk on ice is 15 cen­time­tres. For a group, walk­ing, skat­ing or play­ing, the rec­om­mended thick­ness is 20 cm. Snow­mo­biles would re­quire 25 cm, while for a larger ve­hi­cle, 40 cm is the rec­om­mended depth.

No test holes were vis­i­ble on Car­bon­ear Pond when vis­ited by The Com­pass the next day, but more chil­dren turned out to skate.

The Red Cross also sug­gests it’s un­wise to go out on the ice after dark.

Cloudy with a chance of cracking

Ice con­di­tion can be judged by how it looks as well. The Red Cross web­site states, “The colour of ice may be an in­di­ca­tion of its strength.”

When ice is clear blue, it is seen as the strong­est ice and less likely to crack.

White opaque ice, or “snow ice,” is about 50 per cent weaker than blue. It is of­ten crys­tal­ized and has snow within it.

Fi­nally, grey un­safe.

“The grey­ness in­di­cates the pres­ence of wa­ter,” the web­site said.




What to do if you fall through

There have been oc­ca­sions when peo­ple fall through ice. The Red Cross gives some tips on how to get out.

Those trav­el­ling alone on the ice can still at­tempt to get out.

Call­ing for help is the first step. If you can get some­one’s at­ten­tion, emer­gency ser­vices can be con­tacted.

It’s best to avoid try­ing to climb out if you fell through due to weak­en­ing of the sur­round­ing ice.

Float­ing onto your stom­ach and at­tempt­ing to push your­self back onto the ice by kick­ing is the best prac­tice, but don’t try to lift your­self out.

Once you are back on the ice, roll or crawl away from the open­ing, dis­pers­ing your body weight to your ex­trem­i­ties, then head for shore.

If you see some­one go through the ice, don’t put your­self in dan­ger. Stay on shore if pos­si­ble and im­me­di­ately call for help.

If you have to go on to the ice, wear a per­sonal floata­tion de­vice, and en­sure to test the ice in front of you as you pro­ceed. Try and reach the per­son with a long pole or branch, or throw a res­cue de­vice to them, ei­ther on shore or on the ice.

If you’re on the ice, lie down when you’re close to the hole and dis­perse your weight to your ex­trem­i­ties. Tell the per­son in the wa­ter to kick, and pull on the as­sist­ing de­vice to help them out.

Th­ese life sav­ing prac­tices, among oth­ers, are taught dur­ing wa­ter safety pro­grams. They are of­fered at pub­lic swimming fa­cil­i­ties across the coun­try, in­clud­ing Car­bon­ear Swimming Pool. We­blink:­­ter-safety/swimming,-boat­ing-and-wa­ter­safety-tips/ice-safety

Crib and darts tour­na­ment

The Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Branch 32 Bay Roberts lo­cated on Wa­ter Street will be hav­ing their an­nual crib­bage and darts tour­na­ment on Jan. 24. For in­for­ma­tion about the crib­bage tour­na­ment, please call Eric Mercer at 786-2981. For in­for­ma­tion about the darts tour­na­ment, call Eric Love­less at 786-9143.

Spa­niard’s Bay Firettes bingo

The Spa­niard’s Bay Firettes will be hav­ing a Goods Bingo on Jan. 24 at the Til­ton Bingo Hall. Doors open at 1 p.m. and bingo starts at 2 p.m. All prizes val­ued at $20. Come bring a friend.

Old-time coun­try and blue­grass jam

The Bay Roberts Lions Club will host an old-time coun­try and blue­grass ses­sion on Sun­day, Jan. 25. Doors will open 12:30 p.m. and the mu­sic starts at 2 p.m. Can­teen ser­vices avail­able. For more in­for­ma­tion call 786-9596.

Car­bon­ear jam ses­sion

There will be a jam ses­sion at the Car­bon­ear Le­gion, Jan. 31, start­ing at 4 p.m. For more info call 5963691.

Flurry Fes­ti­val

The an­nual Flurry Festibal in New Har­bour will take place Feb. 18. A fur­ther an­nounce­ment will be made in the near fu­ture about all the win­ter fun in store for those who take part.

Crib and darts tour­na­ment

On Feb. 7 the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Car­bon­ear will be host­ing a crib and darts tour­na­ment start­ing at 9 a.m. This is an all-day event and only open to mem­bers. There is a sign up sheet at our Le­gion for those who are in­ter­ested in play­ing. For more info call Hu­bert at 5963487.

Valen­tine’s Day dance

There will be a Valen­tine’s dance Feb. 14 at the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Car­bon­ear start­ing at 9:30 p.m. Mu­sic by Mid­night Blue. For more info call 596-3691.

Car­bon­ear Le­gion elec­tion

There is a gen­eral meet­ing and elec­tion of of­fi­cers at the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Car­bon­ear on Sun­day, Feb. 15, start­ing at 2 p.m. Uni­form dressed or ap­pro­pri­ate at­tire. For more info call 596-3691.

Prom dress drive

SPLASH Cen­tre in Har­bour Grace is ac­cept­ing do­na­tions of prom dresses, ac­ces­sories, purses and shoes for its an­nual prom dress drive. To make a do­na­tion visit the cen­tre, lo­cated in the for­mer Har­bour Grace Pri­mary school build­ing, or for more in­for­ma­tion, call 709-596-2400.

Mu­seum and Gallery

The off-sea­son sched­ule for the Road To Yes­ter­day Mu­seum and Christo­pher Pratt Gallery is now in ef­fect. Wed­nes­day af­ter­noons 2-4 p.m. un­til fur­ther no­tice.

Lit­er­acy NL

The Lit­er­acy NL Learn Line (1800-563-1111) can pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on a va­ri­ety of lo­cal pro­grams and ser­vices: pri­vate vol­un­teer tu­tors for adults; Adult Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion; ex­tra help for your school-age child; learn­ing English as a Sec­ond Lan­guage; fam­ily learn­ing; GED (high school equiv­a­lency); prepa­ra­tion for post-sec­ondary; work­place learn­ing. For more on the Learn Line, visit www.lit­er­a­

Photo by Melissa Jenk­ins/The Com­pass

This sec­tion of Car­bon­ear Pond was cleared off and used for skat­ing and hockey on Thus­day, Jan. 8, 2015.

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