By Tyler Renaud 
BELLEVILLE – Snowmobile enthusiasts may be getting anxious to dust off their rides during this mild winter, but the OPP and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs reminds riders that there is no guarantee that any frozen waterway is safe.
Fortunately, in both cases the driver and passenger were able to escape the water and return to land. This is a “rare and fortunate outcome,” as snowmobile riders do not usually fall through the ice and live to tell the tale, according to an OPP press release.
The OPP suggests the use of OFSC land-based, prescribed trails whenever possible as these are safest option for snowmobile enthusiasts. These trails often avoid waterways altogether or have bridges that pass over bodies of water safely, according to the OPP.
The force provided a list of suggestions to improve safety if operators make the personal choice of taking their snowmobile out on the ice. They include checking ice thickness, understanding that ice conditions can change hourly, never riding alone, never riding impaired, avoiding slushy or untracked ice, being vigilant for obstacles (rocks, stumps, docks, etc.) and wearing a buoyant snowmobile suit.