Safety Rules for Ice Skating Rinks

Updated July 19, 2017

Skating at a well-run ice rink can be great fun, but skating at a badly run rink can be dangerous. Most rinks ensure that patrons can skate safely. Safety rules differ, depending on the sort of skating session, but most govern how many skaters are allowed on the ice during a session, the behaviour of the skaters, and items skaters are required or forbidden to wear or bring onto the ice.


Many rinks have the rules posted, either at the entrance to the building, in a corridor, or along the boards of the rink. Read the rules before skating. If the rules aren't posted, check in at the front desk or with a skate guard if you have any questions about what is and is not allowed.


Though most rinks ask patrons to sign a waiver stating they won't hold the rink responsible in case of accidents, having and enforcing safety rules will keep accidents to a minimum and strengthen the position of the rink should an accident occur and litigation follow.

Public Skating

Rinks post or enforce some or all of the following rules during public skating: don't bring hockey sticks or pucks onto the ice, don't skate backward, don't figure skate, no more than two skaters should join hands and skate, no cell phones or personal music devices are allowed, skate in the direction of other skaters, obey the skate guard, don't play tag and everyone on the ice must wear skates.

Public Hockey/Stick Time

These are some rules governing drop-in hockey sessions: helmets are mandatory, some sessions are for adults only, and if not, skaters are advised to watch for smaller skaters and checking is not allowed.

Figure Skating

These rules govern a figure skating session: The skater whose music is playing has the right of way, some rinks require the skater to wear a special belt or vest, skaters in lessons have right of way over those practicing, be aware of all other skaters and give way to skater in lesson or whose music is playing, pay attention to what is happening around you, do not stand in one spot and if you must talk, do it at the boards. Some rinks divide sessions into low and high level so skaters are at roughly the same ability.

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About the Author

Johanna Ehrmann has been a freelance writer, editor and copy editor since 1991. She is the author of four nonfiction books for young readers on César Chávez, origami, dance and the Smithsonian, published by Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, and two fantasy stories, published by Houghton Mifflin. Ehrmann holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Brandeis University.