The Akwesasne Mohawk Police would like to remind the public that use of our rivers and ponds is unsafe during this recent thaw. Safety on waterways or the decision to use them appropriately is an adult’s role. We want to avoid any accidents relating to the use of our waterways. Please keep water safety in mind at all times.


Avoid driving on the river. If it cannot be avoided, check ice conditions beforehand. Wear a buoyant snowmobile suit. Carry ice picks and make sure they are accessible. Always drive within your ability.


Tell someone of your outing, including where you are going, the route you plan to take, the description of your snowmobile and clothing and your expected time of return.

Always travel with a friend, and be prepared for the unexpected.


Never drive impaired. Alcohol, illegal drugs, even prescription and some over-the-counter drugs can slow your reaction time and affect your driving ability and decision making. If convicted of impaired driving on a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle the legal consequences are the same as they would be for impaired driving of a motor vehicle.


When operating a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle in the winter season dress appropriately. Wear clothing in layers and always carry extra dry clothing with you.


Carry a survival kit that includes: a first aid kit, matches or lighter in a waterproof container, a knife, saw or axe, a flashlight and whistle, high energy food such as nuts or granola bars, and a mechanical kit that includes: spare spark plug and drive belt; tow rope; extra ignition key; screwdriver, wrenches and hammer; plus the owner's manual.
Check the weather forecast before heading out.



  • Ice covered in snow – Snow insulates the ice below and keeps it from getting cold enough to reach a safe thickness.
  • Slush – Slush indicates the ice is melting at the bottom and is not safe.
  • Milky Ice – This is formed from refrozen snow and is half as strong as clear ice.
  • Blueish Ice – This ice is strong and generally safe to walk on.


  • 12” for truck or SUV
  • 9” for small automobile
  • 6” for snowmobile or ATV
  • 5” for small group spread out
  • 4” 1 person with personal gear
  • 3” or less Unsafe! Stay off ice.




  1. Do not remove clothing – Clothing can provide buoyancy with trapped air.
  2. Pick, Kick and Pull – Turn toward the ice you came from, use your ice pick or claws to dig in and vigorously kick your feet while pulling yourself on to the ice by sliding yourself forward.
  3. Roll away from Breakage – Once back on the ice, roll away from the breakage to evenly distribute your weight and avoid breaking through again.
  4. Having made it out, you need to immediately make your way to a dry and warm place. If you have symptoms of hypothermia seek immediate medical attention.





Waterlogged clothing pulls you down in the water and makes you drown.


Actually, air trapped in your clothing will help keep you afloat temporarily. Once the clothes are soaked with water, they will be heavier, making moving and swimming more difficult.



The better you swim the better your chances of rescuing yourself if you fall through the ice.


Swimming proficiency plays only a small part in ice-related rescues. After as little as five

minutes, cold water begins to rob you of your ability to move your limbs. This makes it very difficult for you to get out of the water, no matter what your swimming ability.



Snow on a frozen lake or river makes the ice surface stronger.


Snow acts as an insulating blanket, actually hindering ice formation and growth.



If the weather has been cold, the ice must be solid and safe.


Other factors that are largely independent of air temperature (e.g., wind, a layer of snow on the ice, currents and fluctuating water levels) can weaken ice and make it unable to bear weight. A sudden drop in air temperature, which is actually

more dangerous than a sudden rise, can create cracks in the ice.



Thick ice is stronger than thin ice.


Even thick ice may be weak if it is “rotten” or contains layers of water. Rotten ice has frozen and thawed repeatedly, making it potentially fragile even when it appears solid.