Working on Ice

The WSS Working On Ice course is a one day workshop that provides an introduction to the skills needed to safely recreate and travel on a freshwater floating ice cover.

The day starts with 3 informative mini workshops designed to introduce students to: Ice Hazards, Hypothermia, and an Introduction to Ice safety procedures. After a short break for lunch, the class heads outside for half an afternoon of dry land training and half on some local ice cover. Afternoon workshops include: The treatment of severe hypothermia, Throwing and Towing with rescue ropes, Ice sampling and quality, Slushed -in equipment, and a brief demonstration of throw-bag and live bait rescue techniques. The afternoon culminates in an optional tethered immersion experience where participants can choose to self-rescue from the practice hole with WSS paramedic/instructors to help them out and warm them up.

All WSS courses are taught by Ontario paramedics with a full complement of EMS tools on sight. There is NO swiftwater component to this course. This is an ice safety & injury prevention workshop not a technical rescue course. Participants receive a proof of participation card upon completion of this workshop. For those interested in complete technical ice rescue training and certification we strongly recommend consulting our technical rescue courses provided through Raven Rescue, or visiting Raven Rescue directly @

One of our “Working On Ice” seminars hosted at by our good friend Al at “Smith Camps” in Kenora, ON.

Sample Workshop Outline:

Morning (Classroom)Hazard Analysis Workshop (2hrs)

  • Topography (Map Workshop)
  • Ice Types (Slides & Video)
  • Ice Conditions e.g. cracks, age
  • Hypothermia (45 min)
  • Signs, Symptoms, Treatment
  • Ice Immersion Video
  • Common Ice Safety Procedures  (45 min)
  • Review Definitions
  • Operating Procedures
  • Ice Thickness
  • Emergency Procedures

Afternoon (Outside)

  • Hypothermia Wrap (30 Min)
  • Review of symptoms, treatment, materials
  • Building the perfect wrap
  • Evacuation & Survival planning
  • Introduction to Safety Ropes & Throw bags (1 hr)
  • Materials & Quality of rope
  • Throwing and Towing dry/land practice
  • Storage & Maintenance Issues
  • Ice Sampling & Quality Workshop (45 min)
  • Demonstration & Practice
  • One & Two person Sampling Determining Ice Quality Using the ice screw
  • Slushed & Frozen Equipment Retrieval (30 min)
  • Mechanical Advantage 2:1 & 4:1
  • Ice Screw anchors
  • Ice Failure & Rescue Demonstrations (30 min)
  • Throw bagging
  • Live Bait Rescue Demonstration
  • Self Rescue Demonstration
  • Optional Immersion Experience

OFF THE ICE BY 4:00 (Or 1 hr before Sunset) ALL WINTER