Snowmobile and qamutik safety

Sirmilik National Park

Snow machines can provide quick access to wilderness areas and are a common method of travel to some of the National Parks in Nunavut.

Travelling, using a snow machine and qamutik can, however, be dangerous and must be treated with respect. Injuries result when the snow machine makes a sudden stop; when the driver or passenger falls from the machine or qamutik due to bouncing over uneven terrain; when the snow machine flips; or when the qamutik is pulled by a rope rather than a rigid hitch and the sled overtakes the snow machine pulling it.

Avoiding accidents and injuries

  • Check your qamutik frequently to ensure you know how it is riding and where it is in relation to your snow machine.
  • If you slow down or stop unexpectedly, check your qamutik’s location. Prevent your qamutik from running into others or your own snow machine by slowing your speed gradually.
  • Be especially careful when approaching other snow machines, people on foot and other types of vehicles. Plan your stops in advance and slow your machine as you approach the location you intend to stop.
  • Use qamutiks with a steel hitch.
  • Avoid travelling at high speeds. Adjust your speed to the terrain and other conditions.

Thin ice areas and sea ice

  • Some parts of the sea ice are prone to thinning earlier than the rest of the ice due to strong water currents. Please talk to our staff to identify these locations. You can also check the Canadian Ice Service website for Arctic ice conditions (go to Eastern Arctic then Approaches to Resolute).
  • If there is deep snow and one area is darker than the surrounding area, the dark area is typically thin ice. Pass by that area giving it a wide berth.
  • When deep snow is present with water on top or the snow is soaked through with water, it means that there is open water beneath it. Do not approach these areas.
  • Sea ice close to river mouths is generally thin.
  • Bays and inlets often have strong currents during spring and are prone to thin ice and open water. Avoid travelling through bays and inlets that have narrow channels.

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