It's been an unusual year for weather in Manitoba this winter, and with only a few weeks of chilly temperatures, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water have not had the time to freeze. 

"The ice is just too unpredictable at this point in time," said Dr. Christopher Love, Water Smart and safety management co-ordinator for the Lifesaving Society of Manitoba. "If you make the choice to go out there, then you have to be prepared to go through that ice and into cold water."

Dr. Love says about 30 percent of all fatal drownings that happen in Canada every year occur in the colder months, between October and April of each year. 

"Our drowning research shows that a large percentage are people out on the ice doing things like snowmobiling, ice fishing or other activities like that."

For those who decide to take a chance and head out on thin ice, Dr. Love says it is important to take safety precautions.

"Do not go out alone. Make sure you have somebody with you so that if one of you gets in trouble, somebody else is there to help."

Another tip Dr. Love shared is to let people know where you're going and when you plan to return.

"If you don't show back up, something will happen. The authorities are going to be alerted, and a search is going to be initiated."

Lastly, he says to make sure you wear something that will help you float.

"If you do go through the ice and into cold water, you need to make sure you keep your head above the surface," said Dr. Love. "As soon as you hit that water, you're going to go into cold shock, and you're immediately going to gasp or hyperventilate, and that is going to happen for the first minute. If your head is below the surface because you're not floating, when you gasp, you're going to suck back a lot of water and you could be unconscious or dead within 15-20 seconds. We want to avoid that." 

At the end of the day, Dr. Love says to stay off the ice until next winter.