Weather Awareness and Water Hazards: Your Responsibilities As a Pleasure Craft Operator

in Weather

Weather Awareness Weather forecast information is available from the following sources:

  • Newspapers
  • The Internet
  • Radios - AM and FM
  • TV weather channels
  • Radiotelephones
  • Environment Canada
  • Personal observation

Understanding weather and water conditions is a key aspect of boating safely. Boaters need to know how to obtain current, relevant information before they head out. Boaters also need to know how to get updates while out on the water, which requires the knowledge and skill to use a marine radio. A receiver for continuous marine weather forecasts is also available. Marine weather forecasts can be obtained from:

  • channels 21B, 25B and 83B on the Atlantic Coast and Great Lakes;
  • channels 21B and WX1, 2, 3 on the Pacific Coast;
  • in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax, VHF Broadcasts from Radio Canada (Environment Canada)
  • via the internet

On the water "Keep your eye on the Sky". If the sky looks dark and cloudy and conditions are changing rapidly, head for shore. Summer thunderstorms can strike quickly and unexpectedly. Other indications of approaching bad weather are falling barometric pressure, increasing winds and changes in wind direction, which generally lead to increased wave action. Weather forecasts are described using the following expressions as defined by Atmospheric Environment Service, Environment Canada

  • light winds
  • moderate winds
  • strong winds
  • small craft warning
  • gale warning
  • storm warning

Boaters should check weather forecast information and conditions before making the decision to head out, so as not to put the craft and persons on board at risk. Local Water Hazards - Are There Any? Boaters should be aware of local water hazards, which could impede and could increase the risk of causing injuries or loss of life to persons on board. The following are possible local water hazards to consider:

  • low-head damns
  • rapids
  • sudden winds
  • tides
  • currents
  • white water
  • overhead cables
  • underwater cables
  • bridges
  • rapid build up of high wave conditions

Obviously, you must keep away from designated swimming areas when boating. Canoes and kayaks can easily injure swimmers. Be on the lookout for people in the water any time you come close to shore (they may be snorkeling and hard to see). The sun's glare also makes it difficult to see people in the water.

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Weather Awareness and Water Hazards: Your Responsibilities As a Pleasure Craft Operator

This article was published on 2010/12/28