This cold snap might keep the majority of us inside, but a few brave persons will bundle up and go out on their snowmobiles.
Among the braves are the members of the RCMP Yellowknife Detachment Snowmobile Patrol. The patrol is usually out on multiple occasions throughout the winter in and around Yellowknife, doing both preventive and enforcement check stops.
The patrol, in addition of RCMP members, includes representatives from the City of Yellowknife Municipal Enforcement Division (MED), the GNWT Environment and Natural Resources Department, Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Cst. Jason Thibault is the Snowmobile Patrol’s coordinator. An avid outdoor enthusiast, he has extensive experience on the land. Unfortunately, according to Cst. Thibault, there is still a lot of people who don’t follow basic safety rules when riding their snowmobiles.
“The RCMP wish for everyone a safe ride, that’s why we came up with the patrol. It’s an occasion for us and our partners to check on people, explain safety rules and prevent incidents”— Cst. Thibault
What are the most important rules to follow? According to Cst. Thibault, these safety tips need to be reminded to snowmobilers:
- Always check the weather forecast and plan for additional days on the land.
- Know the area where you are travelling. If you are not familiar with the area, speak with someone more experienced.
- Make sure you wear bright color clothing and warm gear, and learn the symptoms of hypothermia.
- Always wear a helmet when you are within Yellowknife city’s limits, and wear it even though it’s not mandatory outside the city.
- Carry an emergency medical kit, emergency took kit (with spark plugs, belt) and extra food.
- Always carry a mean of communication. If you travel outside cellular phone coverage, carry an emergency communication device like a Satellite phone, a spot or a 2-way satellite communication device.
- Tell people where you are going. Let them know of your destination and the route you are going to take. If you are changing your plans at the last minute, tell a few people prior to leaving.
- Operate your snowmobile within your capacities and always sober! Snowmobile drivers impaired by alcohol and/or drugs are facing the same criminal code charges as when driving a vehicle impaired.
Finally, familiarizing yourself with the All-terrain Vehicles Act before operating a snowmobile in the Northwest Territories would be recommended. You can find the Act here.
The City of Yellowknife have their own regulations applicable within the city’s limits.
“The RCMP wishes everyone a great riding season!”— Cst. Thibault