Image credit: AdventureSmart (with an added duck!)

Do you know how thick the ice should be before walking on it? If the ice is 3 inches or less in thickness, then you should STAY OFF. Instead, look for ice that is 4 inches or greater before venturing out onto it to ski, walk, snowshoe or fish. For trucks, the ice should be at least a foot thick or more. But wee little ducks can get away with a mere 3/16th of an inch before falling through to the icy water below.

However, ducks don't have to worry as much about the dangers of falling through ice as much as they do becoming frozen in it. When people walking beside Como Lake realized a couple of ducks were in need of help, animal rescue services were called.


From the Archives: Firefighter Gary Mulligan (from the Coquitlam, BC Fire Department) is pictured above wearing a North Water Rescue PFD rescuing ducks who got caught in an ice-up. Photo credit: Paul vanPeenen Coquitlam Now/Vancouver Sun


Frozen in the ice, the ducks were unable to escape their frosty prison. But because of the extremely dangerous and unusual conditions the rescuers found themselves in, the SPCA rightfully enlisted the help of the experienced Coquitlam Fire Department*. Pictured above is Firefighter Gary Mulligan braving the dangerously thin ice to rescue the first of the two ducks who were stuck.

Photo of actual newspaper clipping

Upon their rescue, the birds were handed over to the SPCA where they were to spend a night or two in recovery before being released back into the wild. When asked who was going to pay for the recovery efforts, one duck was heard to say "Put it on my bill!". (Just kidding! We couldn't help ourselves.) This happened a few winters ago but if you are looking for "quacks" - er - we mean cracks in the ice and other cold water/ice safety tips, visit:

And in all seriousness, ICE SAFETY is no laughing matter so be sure to have all the proper gear for the conditions and be ICE SMART. Stay safe this season!

*Because North Water Safety and Rescue Equipment is designed and manufactured right here in North America, we are able to work closely with the various forces like Police (click here to see our Canine Unit PFD) and Fire Departments to design safety and rescue gear to meet their demanding criteria as well as being capable of adapting to their changing needs over time.