Monitor the Weather
Source: Transport Canada
Weather and water conditions play a big role in your safety on the water. Before heading out, make sure you get the latest forecast for your area and that you understand what it means. You should also be aware of local factors (like topography) that may cause weather conditions to differ from the forecast. The best source for this information is people who know the area well.
Summer thunderstorms can strike quickly and without warning so while you’re out, remember to keep your eye on the sky. If it starts to look dark and cloudy, and conditions are changing quickly, head for shore. Remember to check your up-to-date nautical charts in advance so that you’ll know where to seek shelter.
Environment Canada provides marine forecasts in many ways. If you have a marine radio, you can get weather updates while you’re on the water. These forecasts provide information on wind speed and direction, weather, visibility and freezing spray (if applicable). Forecasts are issued several times a day. Some forecasts discuss current conditions while others discuss the conditions to expect over several days.
When high wind speeds are expected, Environment Canada will issue a wind warning in the marine forecast:
- Strong Wind Warning (20 – 33 knots) (37 – 61 km/h)
- Gale Warning (34 – 47 knots) (62 – 87 km/h)
- Storm Warning (48 – 63 knots) (88 – 117 km/h)
- Hurricane Force Wind Warning (64 knots or more) (118 km/h or more)
(This warning does not mean that a hurricane is expected or is taking place.)
One knot is one nautical mile an hour or 1.852 km/h.
Marine weather forecasts are available 24 hours a day in some areas through Environment Canada’s Weatheradio service on the VHF-FM radio band. To get these forecasts, you need a Weatherradio receiver or a VHF marine radio. You can also get continuous forecasts from the Canadian Coast Guard on marine VHF weather channels.
For a complete list of Environment Canada weather services across Canada, please visit www.weatheroffice.gc.ca or contact them.