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Crucial safety equipment for Canadian ice anglers

Risk management

Simple, easy-to-use gear to help you survive—or avoid—a plunge into icy water

Emergency essentials for saving yourself from the hardwater season’s potential perils

Patrick Walsh
Patrick Walsh

Provided you’re wearing a PFD, an embarrassing tumble into the water during summer could mean lost tackle or a bricked phone at worst. But during winter, falling through the ice can get very serious, very quickly, with a very real threat of drowning. A fall onto the ice is no laughing matter, either.

As always, your most important piece of safety equipment is the grey matter between your ears—you must use it constantly to assess ice and weather conditions when heading out onto the hardwater. But there are also some very practical, easy-to-use items that can help you survive a serious mishap or, better yet, completely avoid trouble in the first place.

Scott Gardner

Scott Gardner

Outdoor Canada associate editor and fly-fishing columnist Scott Gardner is happiest when he's on the water fishing (especially from his kayak) or just surrounded by trees, preferably out of cell phone range. Since joining Outdoor Canada in 2010, Scott has won nine National Communication Awards from the Outdoor Writers of Canada for his adventure travel and fly fishing articles, and been nominated for five National Magazine Awards.

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