Woman and man looking icy sea at a bridge.

Warning: Ice on Helsinki waters may still be weak

Yes, it has been cold and quite a lot of snow, but ice on the waters in Helsinki is not yet strong enough to walk, ski or skate (etc.) on in very many places. When the weather changes like it has been doing, this strongly affects the ice. Snow on the ice makes the ice grow (become thicker) more slowly. For this reason, avoid going out on the ice, and if you have to, be very careful and cautious. To walk/skate/ski etc. on the ice, you must be aware of the risks, and take the appropriate precautions. Always keep in mind that where the ice was strong enough yesterday, it may not be strong enough today, even in places you think you know.

If and when you go out on the ice, you should use the right safety equipment - after learning how to use it. You should at least wear ice awls ready for use - not in your pocket - in case the ice should break under you. Don’t go out on the ice alone, and you would be wise to bring a pole or branch or similar to prick the ice ahead of you to see if it is solid enough (and make it easier to be rescued) - and a watertight rucksack containing dry clothes and a mobile phone. Remember that you run a great risk of freezing if you fall through the ice.

Before you go, check the ice situation! All waters don’t freeze at the same time in Finland. Ice data on sea areas Website of the Finnish Meteorological Institute

Dangerous places

  • Where the ice has been broken by ships, do not try to cross these passages. They are in regular use in Helsinki, and may not be properly frozen even though there is snow on top. Where waters from, for example,  industrial facilities or streets run out into the sea or lakes or rivers, the ice is always weaker, although it may seem strong enough.
  • Under bridges, and near piers, docks and ships, it is always a little bit warmer, and the ice is weaker.

More useful links:

 Photo: Jussi Hellsten.