Pat's Boating in Canada
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
Weather Forecasts & Current Conditions
There is no negotiating with the weather. It can change at any time, forcing you to change course or ride it out. Checking weather forecasts at least gives you the best odds of having a pleasant cruise instead of a white-knuckle ride!
You can get marine weather forecasts by radio, TV, newspapers, VHF radio (below) or
Telephone (free and paid), and of course - the Internet.
VHF Radio Forecasts
- Atlantic/Great Lakes channels 21B (161.65 MHz) and 83B (161.775 MHz)
- Environment Canada broadcasts continuously over three dedicated VHF-FM bands:
162.400, 162.475, and 162.550 MHz
- Environment Canada in the telephone blue pages - taped forecasts
(i.e. Kingston 613-389-3252, Ottawa 613-998-3439)
- Pacific coast VHF channel 21B and 39 WX1
- Continuous weather broadcast information is available by telephone at (604) 666-3655 (Vancouver area).
Learn more about VHF marine radio
Fronts roar through Nova Scotia in the fall like boxcars on a freight train...
They blow squirrels out of the trees and oysters off the rocks, as sailors say.
Angus Phillips, The Washington Post
- MAFOR Code - world standard code for radio marine forecasts.
- Beaufort Scale - used in marine forecasts.
Environment Canada issues small craft warnings if wind forecast over 20 knots, Gale warning 34 knots; Storm warning 48 knots,
Hurricane warning 64 knots.
- Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale - storm categories
With a small mobile phone, we can look up most weather information, but looking up at the clouds still provides useful information when you're out on the water.
If jet trails disappear quicky, the air is dry and weather is stable. If the trails remain and spread out, prepare for a change in the weather in about 24 hours.
when you see high hair-like strands of Cirrus clouds forming into a thin veil, expect active weather in the next 18 to 24 hours.
When puffy Cumulus clouds start to mushroom upwards, watch for thunderhead formation (Cumulonimbus clouds), which can happen in helf an hour.
An anvil shape forms as it reaches high altitude winds, which flattens the top of the cloud.
Thunderheads normally move from south-west to north-east. The base turns darker as heavy rain, gusty winds and lightning begin, all dangerous for boating. If you notice distant thunder or lightning south-west of you, don't hesitate to get to safety.