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Marine Weather Information

“Atlantic Canada has some of the most complex and unpredictable weather in the world.” —Environment CanadaEast coast marine weather manual: a guide to local forecasts and conditions
—Peter J. Bowyer and John M. Gray.
ISBN 0-662-16934-4.

It is important to keep the above quotation in mind. 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 affect winds near the coast, and will help you understand why winds you encountered were not forecast.


Weather Forecasts

Environment and Climate Change Canada's (ECCC) Meteorological Service 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 and Climate Change 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 weather and outlook for a few marine forecast areas local to the transmitter. The following should be taken into consideration:

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
 (Geizer Hill)
Middleton
 (Aylesford)
River Denys
New Tusket
Shelburne
Aspen
 (Melrose)
Bridgewater
 (Bakers Sett.)
Oak Park
Sydney
 (Victoria Jn)
Truro
 (Nuttby Mtn)
East Bay
 (Ben Eoin)
Cheticamp
Yarmouth
 (Hebron)
    Springhill
 (Salt Springs)
Tangier
 
PE CharlottetownThis channel allocation does not agree with Weatheradio Canada or Industry Canada radio licence information, but is believed to be correct.
 (Hazel Grove)
SourisThis channel allocation does not agree with Weatheradio Canada or Industry Canada radio licence information, but is believed to be correct.
 (Bear River)
O'Leary        
NB Miscou Island
Moncton
 (Indian Mountain)
Saint‑Isadore     Miramichi
 (Napan)
   
QC Gaspé
 (Mt Pudding Stone)
Magdalen Islands
 (Cap-aux-Meules)
           
NL Corner Brook
 (Watson Brook)
Port Rexton
Red Rocks
Trepassey
Stephenville
 (Bay St George)
Marystown
St John's
 (Kenmount Hill)
Lamaline   Clarenville
 (Shoal Hbr)
Hermitage
Burgeo  
NOTES:
  • This table shows all NS & PE transmitters, but for the other provinces only those closest to Cape Breton Island.
  • 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.
  • ECCC proposes to decommission stations highlighted in PINK.


Map of Cape Breton area

VHF Weather Transmitters

Click on the map to see the location of Environment Canada's Weatheradio
transmitters, and the Canadian Coast Guard's Continuous Marine Broadcast
transmitters, in the vicinity of Nova Scotia.

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.

MF WEATHER BROADCAST – ATLANTIC CANADA
Time
(UTC)
Time
(ADT)
Station Freq (kHz) Marine Forecast Areas Cabot
Strait
Forchu Gulf-
Magdalen
N'thumb
Strait
2598 2749
0437 0137 Les Escoumins 215 – 221, 301, 302
0737 0437 Placentia 213, 215, 231 – 238
0740 0440 Sydney 209 – 218, 231, 232
0807 0507 Port-aux-Basques 215, 217, 219, 220, 231
0810 0510 Halifax 201 – 211
0847 0547 Les Escoumins 215 – 221, 301, 302
1040 0740 Halifax (Fundy) 201 – 211
1407 1107 Les Escoumins 215 – 221, 301, 302
1440 1140 Sydney 209 – 218, 231, 232
1507 1207 Port-aux-Basques 215, 217, 219, 220, 231
1540 1240 Halifax 201 – 211
1607 1307 Placentia 213, 215, 231 – 238
1640 1340 Halifax (Fundy) 201 – 211
2010 1710 Sydney 209 – 218, 231, 232
2040 1740 Halifax (Fundy) 201 – 211
2107 1807 Port-aux-Basques 215, 217, 219, 220, 231
2120 1820 Halifax 201 – 211
2137 1837 Placentia 213, 215, 231 – 238
2317 2017 Les Escoumins 215 – 221, 301, 302
0040 2140 Sydney 209 – 218, 231, 232
0048 2148 Placentia 213, 215, 231 – 238
0140 2240 Halifax (Fundy) 201 – 211
0207 2307 Port-aux-Basques 215, 217, 219, 220, 231
0240 2340 Halifax 201 – 211

PDF iconCLICK HERE to download this table and the following list of marine 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 halfPointe-des-Monts to Anticosti is in Québec, not Atlantic Canada. Listed here because it is included in the forecasts from Les Escoumins.
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 (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
CLICK HERE
to download the above chart of forecast areas.


Revised: 2021-05-02