While natural ice surfaces may be alluring in winter, they can be dangerous, according to the City of Moncton's Director of Parks and Leisure Operations.
Dan Hicks says at this time of year, particularly with this amazing thaw, there's a lot of water moving through natural bodies of water like Jones Lake.
"The biggest risk that we have in these kinds of situations is that fast moving water underneath the ice weakens the ice in locations that are just not able to be seen by the human eye, and it makes the ice surface quite variable," says Hicks.
He says there aren't any specific signs or clues that he would rely on regularly to tell him whether the ice is thick or not, especially in places with fast moving water, like Jones Lake.
"Water comes into that area through the culvert at Mount Royal, so anywhere close to that you'll see there should be open ice and you should be able to see water at that, or near the spillway," says Hicks. "So those would be two areas that would be very concerning to be anywhere near."
Hicks says the best way to stay safe is to avoid natural ice surfaces, however, if you do fall in, you should make yourself as flat as possible, and not push directly down on the ice.
"So if you can imagine laying flat and kicking as hard as you can with your feet to project yourself in a swimming type fashion and gradually pull yourself out that way, it will help ensure that the ice doesn't continue to break under your weight," says Hicks.
He says increasingly unpredictable temperatures over the last decade prompted the City to end natural ice surface maintenance, and switch to artificial ones instead.