OC Fire Department Issues Frozen Waterway Reminders

OC Fire Department Issues Frozen Waterway Reminders
Members of the Ocean City Fire Department demonstrated how dangerous partially frozen waterways can be this time of year last weekend. Submitted Photo

OCEAN CITY — With winter in full swing, the Ocean City Fire Department (OCFD) this week issued timely reminders about the dangers of playing on frozen waterways.

With below freezing temperatures prevailing for much of the last week or so, some shallow waterways in and around the resort area become covered in a thin sheet of ice. However, as inviting as an ice-covered portion of the bay or a canal can be, the OCFD is warning residents and visitors of the inherent dangers of walking, playing or skating on a frozen waterway.

A frozen body of water can appear to be safe enough to play or skate on, but wide temperature swings locally even in the heart of winter, local waterways rarely freeze to the point they can safely be played or skated upon. The OCFD last week conducted water and ice rescues drills as part of the department’s No Ice is Safe Ice campaign.

“Each year, hundreds of people are injured in ice water accidents,” said OCFD Battalion Chief and Water Rescued Commander David Peterson. “Many think that because the body of water has been frozen for a few days, they can skate or play on the ice. It is important to understand that even though the ice may look strong and safe, there is always the danger for falling through the ice and into frigid water.”

Frozen waterways can be especially inviting to kids. To that end, the OCFD is encouraging parents to teach their children about the dangers of ice regardless of how long a bay, pond, canal or even a swimming pool has been frozen.

“Walking and playing on ice is inviting and appears to be fun, but it’s important that children understand the dangers associated with it,” said Peterson. “It’s important for children to know that there is no such thing as 100% safe ice. No ice is safe ice.”

The resort community knows all to well about the dangers of children playing on ice. In 2003, a popular local boy fell through the ice at a frozen lagoon at Northside Park and perished. The incident, still fresh in the minds of many locally 18 years later, is a painful reminder of the dangers of playing on frozen waterways.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.