Marine Weather Information

“Weather forecasting is an ‘inexact science’, and in few places on Earth is it more inexact than the Canadian Maritimes.”

The Maritime Provinces lie 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. Forecasting which system will have the major effect at any time can be difficult, given the inexactness in forecasting the individual systems themselves. Throw in the the effects of the cold Labrador Current, the 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, although 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.


VHF Weatheradio

Weatheradio Canada, operated by Environment Canada's Meteorological Service, broadcasts continuously on VHF channels WX1 – WX7, providing marine and terrestrial forecasts in both English and French. Following public consultaion, the weather forecast format was significantly revised for 2013, making the forecasts more useful to the cruiser. Each transmitter gives the marine forecast for several adjacent areas, along with the outlook for the marine areas. The complete segment of terrestrial and marine forcast is now considerably shorter, and alternates in French and English. The following should be taken into consideration:

Map of Cape Breton Island
CLICK on map to see location of transmitters on Cape Breton Is.
WX1 WX2 WX3 WX4    WX5 WX6 WX7   
Dingwall NS
 (Cape North)

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

Cheticamp NS
Oak Park NS
Yarmouth NS
    Springhill† NS
Tangier† NS
Truro NS
 
  Charlottetown PE O'Leary PE       Souris PE
Miscou Island NB
Moncton NB
Saint‑Isadore NB     Miramichi NB    
Magdalen Is QC            
Hermitage NL
Red Rocks NL
Trepassey NL
Stephenville NL
 (Bay St George)
Marystown NL
St John's NL
Lameline NL   Hermitage† NL Burgeo NL  
NOTES: † = Planned transmitter
The name in parentheses '( )' is the transmitter location, and is 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 transmitters, but for the other provinces only those closest to Cape Breton Island.


CCGR VHF Continuous Marine Broadcast

Canadian Coast Guard Radio (CCGR) operates continuous marine broadcasts (CMB) 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 transmitted by CCGR. These marine 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. Note that 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
Magdln
N'thumb
Strait
0437 0137 Rivière-au-Renard 2598 2749 215 – 221, 301, 302
0737 0437 Placentia 2598 231 – 236
0740 0440 Sydney 2749 209, 213 – 218, 231, 232
0807 0507 Port-aux-Basques 2598 215, 217, 219, 220 – 232, 235
0810 0510 Halifax 2749 203 – 214
0847 0547 Rivière-au-Renard 2598 2749 215 – 221, 301, 302
1040 0740 St John (Fundy) 2749 201 – 208
1407 1107 Rivière-au-Renard 2598 2749 215 – 221, 301, 302
1440 1140 Sydney 2749 209, 213 – 218, 231, 232
1507 1207 Port-aux-Basques 2598 215, 217, 219, 220 – 232, 235
1540 1240 Halifax 2749 203 – 214
1607 1307 Placentia 2598 231 – 236
1640 1340 St John (Fundy) 2749 201 – 208
1940 1640 Halifax 2749 203 – 214
2010 1710 Sydney 2749 209, 213 – 218, 231, 232
2040 1740 St John (Fundy) 2749 201 – 208
2107 1807 Port-aux-Basques 2598 215, 217, 219, 220 – 232, 235
2137 1837 Placentia 2598 231 – 236
2317 2017 Rivière-au-Renard 2598 2749 215 – 221, 301, 302
0040 2140 Sydney 2749 209, 213 – 218, 231, 232
0048 2148 Placentia 2598 231 – 236
0140 2240 St John (Fundy) 2749 201 – 208
0207 2307 Port-aux-Basques 2598 215, 217, 219, 220 – 232, 235
0240 2340 Halifax 2749 203 – 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 cryptographic skills wishing to make use of these forecasts should consult:
PDF icon Radio Aids to Marine Navigation ♦ Aides radio à la navigation maritime
(Atlantic, St Lawrence, Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg, and Eastern Arctic).



Weather via Internet


Weather via Telephone (English/Français)


Marine Forecast Areas

Wreckhouse Area: Forecasts for Cabot Strait will 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.


Updated: 2015-12-05



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