Snowmobile emergency checklist

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What do to before and after an emergency

Once you’re out on your snowmobile and you encounter an urgent situation such as unexpected weather or accident, it’s too late to be thinking of your emergency checklist. Be proactive and always read it over before setting off. Check it each season to see if there’s anything you want to add. And always bring your list (plasticized to protect it from rain and snow) along for the ride.

Plan ahead
Your emergency checklist
A basic survival kit
What to do if you are in an emergency situation

Plan ahead

  • Make sure you’ve gone over your equipment maintenance checklist.
  • Check to see if everybody going out with you is physically fit and can endure cold weather if you happen to break down.
  • Take a look at your protective clothing checklist.
  • Bring food (energy bars, etc.) and water in case you are delayed or encounter an emergency situation.
  • Inform people of your planned trip, the route you’ll be taking and your planned route of return.
  • Check the weather before you leave; avoid snowmobiling in storms even if the challenge seems like a lot of fun; it is simply dangerous to take a vehicle out in any weather conditions which reduce visibility.
  • If you do leave and the weather turns bad, turn back.
  • Take safe routes and avoid areas where there may be avalanches, thin ice on water crossings. If you are heading for avalanche-prone areas, information can be found on
  • Read over your emergency checklist.

Your emergency checklist

If you’re planning an extended day or overnight snowmobile trip, you should never leave without these essentials. If the load seems heavy, share the carrying of equipment and food supplies with your snowmobile companions. If you feel that you’re carrying too much, check your list and see if you can narrow it down to these essentials:

  • You’re wearing proper clothing to protect you from the elements.
  • You’ve brought snowshoes or skis in case of an emergency breakdown.
  • Your vehicle is well-maintained to avoid breakdowns.
  • You have enough food and emergency supplies if you break down (energy bars, chocolate, nuts, dried fruit).
  • You have a survival kit (see below).

A basic survival kit

First-aid kit - suggested items:

  • - scissors (ideally, stainless steel blunt blades)
  • - splinter forceps
  • - wound closure strips
  • - gauze & tape
  • - antibiotic ointment
  • - antiseptic wipes
  • - rubbing alcohol
  • - latex or preferably nitrile gloves

Other important items to bring:

  • - map in waterproof holder
  • - water-proof matches
  • - compass with a mirror
  • - hatchet
  • - knife
  • - rope
  • - candles (long-lasting emergency-type)
  • - electrical or duct tape
  • - emergency flares
  • - emergency whistle (pealess and non-metallic)
  • - LED flashlight or lamp
  • - spare batteries for flashlight or lamp
  • - chemical hand and/or foot warmers
  • - tarp for temporary shelter
  • - spark plugs
  • - extra ignition key
  • - spare drive belt
  • - small tool kit (if one did not come with your sled)

What to do if you are in an emergency situation

If you break down, these are a few basics to keep in mind:

International distress signals:

I Require doctor-serious injury
II Require medical supplies
X Unable to proceed
O Need map and compass
F Need food and water
V Need direction to proceed
LL All well