I know about ice and I’m safe

Today was a beautiful day after a relatively cold night for this part of Canada.

Today was a beautiful day after a relatively cold night for this part of Canada. It’s not every decade that ice is even on Quamichan Lake, let alone thick enough to ski on.

Seventy millimetres thick. I drilled holes and measured at 20-50 metre intervals halfway across the lake. My children and I enjoyed what we are accustomed to when we used to live in central B.C., walking and skiing on frozen water.

Some misconcerned woman called 9-1-1. Wasted your tax dollars to send an RCMP officer to talk to me about their concerns. The officer didn’t even know what ice is safe to walk on. There are many published ice safety thickness recommendations that all vary slightly from each other. (http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/ice-thickness-safe-loads-d_1566.html) All seem to lean to higher safety factors than the charts I first learned while growing up. I am teaching my children with experiences they will never forget on how to be safe (experiential knowledge).

I had the opportunity to talk with the woman I assume called the RCMP, as she also called my home. She was basing her concerns on an unfortunate experience many years ago, and by looking out her window at the conditions on the lake vs. my similar experiences and physical examination of the ice but also the experiences of many years of living on or near waterfront (ponds, Nechako River, and Tabor Lake) in the colder part of Canada for most of my life.

It is a shame our society allows the concerns and fears of the misinformed, uneducated, inexperienced, and/or arrogant small minority to dictate the limits to the informed, educated, experienced and tolerant majority. The latter being the reason the majority is dictated by the minority. Maybe I am the minority on the side of safety that is pushing to know the limits, but without my kind the rest of the world will never know the limits of nature.

Based on http://www.medhelp.org/general-health/articles/The-25-Most-Common-Causes-of-Death/ the chances of me or my children coming to harm or dying while walking on the ice is way down the list below pedestrian vs. car accidents. It is safer for my educated children to walk on the ice than to walk down the side of the street.


Steven Kostamo

North Cowichan