Marine Weather Information

“Atlantic Canada has some of the most complex and unpredictable weather in the world.”
 —Environment Canada

Atlantic Canada lies on the track of several major weather systems: systems that track down the St Lawrence Valley; systems that come out of the central USA (Ohio Valley systems); and systems which track up the US East Coast. Given the inexactness in forecasting the individual systems themselves, forecasting which system will have the major effect is difficult. Throw in the the effects of the cold Labrador Current, the warm Gulf Stream, the occasional hurricane or tropical storm, and the Cape Breton Highlands—which can create strong winds of their own with little warning—you can begin to understand why our weather is so changeable and unpredictable.
Les Suêtes Winds, which affect the western and northern coast of the Cape Breton Highlands (Margaree Harbour to Bay St Lawrence), are not to be taken lightly.

Weather Guides ♦ Guides de météo

Weather knowledge is essential to safe boating…
Marine forecasts are intended primarily for use in offshore waters. However, much of the cruiser's sailing is done near shore. The marine forecast is a good starting point when trying to gauge coastal wind effects. Local winds are influenced by open-ocean winds. Met 101 is essential to understanding the Atlantic Regional Marine Weather Guide. Met 101: Chapter 2, Wind, explains the many factors which can affect winds near the coast, and will help you understand why winds you encountered were not in the forecast.

Weather Forecasts

Environment Canada issues marine forecasts for the Maritimes at approximately 0300, 1000, 1530, and 2000 hrs. Forecasts may be 'revised' at any time as weather systems evolve. Prudent cruisers will keep a close eye on the weather and avail themselves of the latest forecast. Up-to-the-minute information is vital to safety at sea.

VHF Weatheradio

Weatheradio Canada, operated by Environment Canada's Meteorological Service, broadcasts continuously on Marine VHF channels WX1 – WX7, providing marine and terrestrial forecasts in English and French. Each transmitter gives the marine forecast and outlook for a few marine areas local to the transmitter. The following should be taken into consideration:

Map of Cape Breton Island
CLICK on map to see location of transmitters on Cape Breton Island.
Prov WX1
162.550 MHz
162.400 MHz
162.475 MHz
162.425 MHz
162.450 MHz
162.500 MHz
162.525 MHz
NS Dingwall
 (Cape North)
River Denys
New Tusket
 (Victoria Jn)
East Bay
 (Ben Eoin)
Oak Park
    SpringhillThis frequency allocation may be erroneous It is the same frequency used by the Truro transmitter only 60 km away.
PE Charlottetown Souris O'Leary        
NB Miscou Island
Saint‑Isadore     Miramichi    
QC Gaspé
Magdalen Is
NL Corner Brook
Port Rexton
Red Rocks
 (Bay St George)
St John's
Lamaline   Clarenville
NOTES: = Planned transmitter  = Planned channel change
The name in parentheses '( )' is the transmitter location, which may be used to identify the station in the broadcast preamble, instead of the station name. This table shows all NS & PE transmitters, but for the other provinces only those closest to Cape Breton Island.

Canadian Coast Guard VHF Continuous Marine Broadcast

In Nova Scotia, CCG operates continuous marine broadcasts (CMB), in English and French, on VHF Ch‑21B(WX8) and Ch‑83B(WX9), depending on the area. The following should be noted:

CCG MF-SSB Broadcasts

Cruisers with single sideband (SSB) radio can take advantage of the MF‑SSB broadcasts from CCG. In some well-protected anchorages these broadcasts may be your only source of weather information. The forecasts include a technical synopsis and the marine outlook for several days, and cover a wider area than VHF Weatheradio. The forecasts are in the predominant language (English/French) of the area first, followed by the other language, and before Navigational WarningsFormerly called Notices to Shipping (NOTSHIPs) (NAVWARNs) and Notices to Fish Harvesters. The table below provides information on these broadcasts, and indicates if they give information for the marine areas bordering Cape Breton Island (Cabot Strait, Forchu, Gulf-Magdalen, and Northumberland Strait). Transmission is on upper sideband. Each station transmits only four times per day.

Station Freq (kHz) Forecast Areas Cabot
Forchu Gulf-
2598 2749
0437 0137 Les Escoumins 215 – 221, 301, 302
0737 0437 Placentia 231 – 236
0740 0440 Sydney 209, 213 – 218, 231, 232
0807 0507 Port-aux-Basques 215, 217, 219, 220 – 232, 235
0810 0510 Halifax 201 – 214
0847 0547 Les Escoumins 215 – 221, 301, 302
1040 0740 Halifax (Fundy) 201 – 214
1407 1107 Les Escoumins 215 – 221, 301, 302
1440 1140 Sydney 209, 213 – 218, 231, 232
1507 1207 Port-aux-Basques 215, 217, 219, 220 – 232, 235
1540 1240 Halifax 201 – 214
1607 1307 Placentia 231 – 236
1640 1340 Halifax (Fundy) 201 – 214
2010 1710 Sydney 209, 213 – 218, 231, 232
2040 1740 Halifax (Fundy) 201 – 214
2107 1807 Port-aux-Basques 215, 217, 219, 220 – 232, 235
2120 1820 Halifax 201 – 214
2137 1837 Placentia 231 – 236
2317 2017 Les Escoumins 215 – 221, 301, 302
0040 2140 Sydney 209, 213 – 218, 231, 232
0048 2148 Placentia 231 – 236
0140 2240 Halifax (Fundy) 201 – 214
0207 2307 Port-aux-Basques 215, 217, 219, 220 – 232, 235
0240 2340 Halifax 201 – 214

PDF iconCLICK HERE to download this table and the following list of forecast areas.

201 Fundy
202 Grand Manan
203 Lurcher
204 Browns Bank
205 Georges Bank
206 Southwestern Shore
207 Lahave Bank
208 West Scotian Slope
209 Eastern Shore
210 Sable
211 East Scotian Slope
212 Laurentian Fan
213 Banquereau
214 Fourchu
  215 Cabot Strait
216 Northumberland Strait
217 Gulf - Magdalen
218 Chaleur - Miscou
219 Anticosti
220 Gulf - Port-au-Port
221 Northeast Gulf
222 Strait of Belle Isle
223 Belle Isle Bank
224 South Labrador Coast
225 Lake Melville
226 Mid Labrador Coast
227 South Labrador Sea
  228 North Labrador Coast
229 Northwest Labrador Sea
230 East Labrador Sea
231 Southwest Coast
232 South Coast
233 Southwestern Grand Banks
234 Southeastern Grand Banks
235 East Coast
236 Northern Grand Banks
237 Northeast Coast
238 Funk Island Bank
301 Pointe-des-Monts to Anticosti - N half The area of Pointe-des-Monts to Anticosti is in Québec; not Atlantic Canada. It is listed here because it is included in the forecasts from Les Escoumins.
302 Pointe-des-Monts to Anticosti - S half


There was a time when the marine forecasts were transmitted in plain-text by NAVTEX. Unfortunately, they are now only transmitted in a cryptic format which makes them almost useless for the average cruiser. Those with the necessary cryptography skills wishing to make use of these forecasts should consult:
PDF icon
Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (RAMN)Aides radio à la navigation maritime (ARNM)

Weather via Internet

Weather via Telephone (English/Français)

Marine Forecast Areas

Info SymbolForecasts for Cabot Strait often contain high wind warnings for the Wreckhouse Area. This area of notoriously high winds is on the western side of the southwestern tip of Newfoundland, as indicated on this chart.
Chart of Atlantic Canada marine weather forecast areas
PDF icon
to download the above chart of forecast areas.

Revised: 2019-05-18