By Robert Paterson 

In March and April, the ice on Brome Lake becomes less stable. Here are some pointers on safety. This map indicates many areas that should be avoided, even if the ice on well-used parts of the lake is thick enough for winter activities – 20 cm to 50 cm. 

According to the Canadian Red Cross, many factors contribute to the thickness and stability of ice including water depth, currents, chemicals, the presence of docks, logs, or rocks, changing air temperature and shock waves from vehicles traveling on the ice. The strongest ice is clear blue in colour, while grey ice indicates the presence of water. 

Some do’s and dont’s:
• Ice should be at least 15 cm thick for walking or skating alone, 20 cm for skating parties or games and at least 25 cm for snowmobiles. Check it out before venturing out. 

• Stay off the ice after dark or when visibility is poor, and don’t go out alone. 

• Drivers of all-terrain vehicles must carry a valid license or permit, and riders must wear a helmet at all times. The law requires that the vehicle be registered with the SAAQ and carry liability insurance. The vehicle should also be equipped with safety equipment, such as a life line that can be used to pull someone out of the water. Drinking and driving laws apply. 

Town of Brome Lake tests ice thickness only on areas managed by the town, like the skating area near Douglass Beach, and for events run by the town. For all other activity on the lake, it is the responsibility of users to ensure conditions are safe. Obey the law and use common
sense and caution at all times. Ice fishers usually know the ice well and use drills to make fishing holes. If in doubt, ask their advice in the parking lot. 

The map of Brome Lake shows potentially risky areas in purple, where caution is advised even when the rest of the lake is safe.