Marine Weather Information

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

Weather Forecasts

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.

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.


Weather Guides :: Guides de météo


Marine forecasts are designed 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 because local winds are influenced by open-ocean winds. Chapter 2 of Met 101 explains the large variety of factors which can affect winds near the coast. Met 101 is essential to understanding the Regional Weather Guide


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 Is.
Prov WX1
162.550 MHz
WX2
162.400 MHz
WX3
162.475 MHz
WX4
162.425 MHz
WX5
162.450 MHz
WX6
162.500 MHz
WX7
162.525 MHz
NS Dingwall
 (Cape North)

Halifax
Middleton
River Denys
New Tusket
Shelburne
Aspen
 (Melrose)
Bridgewater
Sydney
 (Victoria Jn)
East Bay
 (Ben Eoin)

Cheticamp
Oak Park
Yarmouth
    Springhill
Tangier
Truro
 
PE   Charlottetown O'Leary       Souris
NB Miscou Island
Moncton
Saint‑Isadore     Miramichi    
QC Gaspé
Magdalen Is
           
NL Corner Brook
Hermitage
Port Rexton
Red Rocks
Trepassey
Stephenville
 (Bay St George)
Marystown
St John's
Lamaline   Clarenville
Hermitage
Burgeo  
NOTES: = Planned transmitter  = Planned channel change
The name in parentheses '( )' is the transmitter name, identifying its location and generally used to identify the station in the broadcast preamble, rather than the station name. The Meteorological Service advises that it plans to resolve this "naming confusion".
This table shows all NS & PE transmitters, but for the other provinces only those closest to Cape Breton Island.


CCGR VHF Continuous Marine Broadcast

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


CCGR MF-SSB Broadcasts

Cruisers with single sideband (SSB) radio may take advantage of the MF‑SSB broadcasts from CCGR. 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 broadcasts give the forecast in the predominant language (English or French) of the area first, followed by the other language, before the Notices to Shipping 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.


MF WEATHER BROADCAST – ATLANTIC CANADA
Time
(UTC)
Time
(ADT)
Station Freq (kHz) Forecast Areas Cabot
Strait
Forchu Gulf-
Magdalen
N'thumb
Strait
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 Brown's Bank
205 George's 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
280 Bras d'Or Lakes
281 Halifax Harbour and Approaches
301 Pointe-des-Monts to Anticosti - N half
302 Pointe-des-Monts to Anticosti - S half

NAVTEX

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 (Atlantic, St Lawrence, Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg and Arctic)
Aides radio à la navigation maritime (Atlantique, Saint-Laurent, Grands Lacs, Lac Winnipeg et Arctique)



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 the chart below.
Chart of Atlantic Canada marine weather forecast areas
PDF icon
CLICK HERE
to download the above chart of forecast areas.

Back

Revised: 2017-05-07