Part 5 - Environment Canada's Marine and Ice Warning and Forecast Programs

Pacific and Arctic

Download PDF version of Part 5 - Environment Canada's Marine and Ice Warning and Forecast Programs [1.22 MB]

5.1 Background

Environment Canada’s Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) is the agency responsible for delivering Canada's weather service. The MSC offers a broad range of products and services that are designed to help mariners make informed decisions on how weather will affect them. The Canadian Coast Guard plays an important role in disseminating forecasts and warnings and in collecting and relaying weather information from volunteer observers and ships.

The constant stream of data coming from both automated and manned coastal observation stations, as well as ships and weather buoys, is supplemented by satellite imagery, weather radar and a full set of numerical weather products adapted for marine operations.

5.2 Marine Warning Program

Warnings of extreme weather events that pose a threat to life and property at sea such as strong winds, freezing spray, high coastal waters, squall lines and other localized phenomena shall be issued for the offshore economic zone including the St. Lawrence Seaway and major inland waters.

Major inland waters are defined as having significant marine activity and where time to reach safe harbour is comparable to the marine weather warning lead time. The criteria for issuing weather warnings is based on national guidelines, but determined regionally to account for regional climatology and the nature of the regional marine community. The following table describes the warning program:

Table 5-1 - Synoptic Warnings

Synoptic warnings and warning criteria
Synoptic warnings*Warning criteria
Strong wind warning1 Winds2 20 to 33 knots inclusive occurring or expected to occur in any portion of a marine area including any portion defined by a local effect or an "except" statement.
Gale warning Winds2 34 to 47 knots inclusive occurring or expected to occur in any portion of a marine area including any portion defined by a local effect or an "except" statement.
Storm warning Winds2 48 to 63 knots inclusive occurring or expected to occur in any portion of a marine area including any portion defined by a local effect or an "except" statement.
Hurricane force wind warning Winds2 64 knots or above occurring or expected to occur in any portion of a marine area including any portion defined by a local effect or an "except" statement.
Freezing spray warning Ice accretion rate of 0.7 cm/hr or more occurring or expected to occur in any portion of a marine area including any portion defined by a local effect or an "except" statement.


* These warnings are included in the body of the text forecast.

  1. The strong wind warning program is active on a regional basis as required for coastal and inland waters during the recreational boating season. A warning is not required when the wind is described using the range 15-20 knots. This range is normally used for greater accuracy.
  2. Gusts are excluded from the definition.

Range: With the exception of Note (1) above, when a range is used to describe the wind speed, the upper value of the range determines the warning category.

Table 5-2 - Localized Warnings

Localized warnings, watches, and warning criteria
Localized warnings/watches*Warning criteria
Squall watch Advance notice of conditions that are favourable to the development of squalls.
Squall warning Wind gust ≥ 34 knots associated with a line or an organized area of thunderstorms.
Tornado watch Advance notice of conditions that are favourable to the development of tornados.
Tornado warning Evidence of tornado formation (radar, report from a reliable source, etc.) over a marine area, or an existing tornado moving from land to an adjacent marine area.
Waterspout watch** Advance notice of conditions that are favourable to the development of cold-air waterspouts.
High water level warning Issued to warn mariners and coastal populations of potentially hazardous impacts due to abnormally high water levels or waves along coastal areas.
Special marine warning/watch Used to describe conditions other than those defined above that may have potentially hazardous impacts on navigation.


*These warnings/watches are delivered using separate messages.
** Waterspout warnings are not issued.

Ice warnings: refer to the Canadian Ice Service, Section 5.10

5.3 Marine and Ice Forecast Program

Marine forecasts are issued for the offshore economic zone including the St. Lawrence Seaway and major inland waters.

For sea ice, ice forecasts are issued for offshore marine areas as well as the Great Lakes. The production schedule is detailed in each regional section of this part. The forecast program includes the following bulletins:

Table 5-3 - Marine Forecast Program

Marine forecasts and the type of information they provide
Forecast or bulletin nameDetails
Technical marine synopsis Provides the positions and trends of the main weather systems for the forecast period covering Days 1 and 2.
Marine forecast (or Regular marine forecast) Provides information on: synoptic warnings, wind, visibility, precipitation, and freezing spray. It may include air temperature, as appropriate. Valid for Days 1 and 2.
Recreational boating marine forecast Tailored to the needs of recreational boaters, it is available on a seasonal basis and only in specific regions.
Marine weather statement Issued when deemed necessary, it provides additional information on potentially high impact marine conditions.
Wave height forecast Provides information on significant wave heights valid for Days 1 and 2 (not
available for northern and Arctic lakes or inland waterways).
Extended marine forecast Meant for longer-range planning purposes, it provides an extended marine wind outlook for Days 3, 4, and 5.
Iceberg bulletin Provides information on distribution of icebergs valid for the time of issue of the bulletin.
Ice forecasts Provides information on hazardous ice conditions valid for Days 1 and 2.
NAVTEX1 International Maritime Organization (IMO)-compliant NAVigational TelEX bulletin issued with each regular marine forecast or ice forecasts in a standardized abbreviated format - see Section 5.7.1 for Abbreviations.
MAFOR1 This is a specialized coded marine forecast produced for Québec and Ontario regions.

Note (1):

More details on NAVTEX are provided in section 5.7.

5.3.1 Monitoring the Forecast

Forecasts are monitored, and amended as necessary, to reflect unexpected or changing weather conditions according to criteria based on the following principles:

  1. when safety or security is at risk;
  2. when inconvenience to the marine community will be extensive; or
  3. when the product could adversely affect the credibility of the marine forecast program.

5.3.2 Marine and Ice Forecast Areas

Marine forecasts and ice forecasts are issued for marine and ice areas as outlined in the regional maps. The sizes and boundaries of these areas are determined regionally based on the following considerations:

  1. marine traffic density;
  2. the ability to forecast to the proposed resolution;
  3. the degree to which, climatologically, marine weather varies; and
  4. the ability to distribute the information effectively to the marine community.

5.3.3 Current Conditions

Current weather data is available to Canadians for their local area. The frequency and quality of the data will be consistent with the standards established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The data may include, as appropriate:

  1. wind speed and direction;
  2. atmospheric pressure;
  3. sky conditions;
  4. precipitation type;
  5. restrictions to visibility;
  6. wave height;
  7. current temperature.

General information on current sea-ice will be provided to the marine community once a week to provide an adequate planning tool for those considering entering ice-encumbered waters.

5.3.4 Emergency Response

Meteorological support is provided during emergencies and includes the provision of meteorological information and forecasts. In the case of a pollution event, Environment Canada adheres to the “polluter pay” policy for the provision of all services. Where agreements are in place, Environment Canada will make its distribution systems available to transmit vital information during emergency situations.

5.3.5 Delivery of Marine Warning and Forecast Services

Delivery of marine warning and forecast services to mariners navigating waters within Environment Canada’s forecast areas of responsibility is primarily by mass communication in order to reach the greatest number of mariners through the standard communications technologies available to mariners. The following principles apply, regardless of the specific available technologies:

  1. Marine forecasts and warnings comprising the meteorological Maritime Safety Information (met MSI) issued by Environment Canada will be made available to the marine community via the Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services according to established procedures within the framework of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (see RAMN, Section 4.2.1 General Procedures – Systems – GMDSS).
  2. Internet access via the World-Wide Web. All forecast and warning information will be found at Mariners should note, however, that the internet is not part of the Maritime Safety Information system and should never be relied upon as the only means to obtain the latest marine forecasts and warning information. Access to the internet may be interrupted or updated information delayed without prior notice.
  3. Marine and Environmental Advisories, Watches and Warnings are distributed through various mechanisms including partnerships with national and regional media distributors and local emergency measures organizations.
  4. In addition to the aforementioned mediums, basic services to mariners and Canadians in general shall also be delivered by mass distribution in partnership with media, relying on current and developing technologies in radio, television, newspaper and the Internet. These distribution mechanisms represent the primary methods by which most Canadians receive their weather information, now and in the future.

5.4 Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) Program

The VOS program has been discontinued within Canada. Environment Canada currently supports the Automated Voluntary Observing Ship program (AVOS) program and will support visiting VOS ships from other jurisdictions on a “best efforts” basis. Contact your regional PMO for further information.

5.5 Buoys Program

In order to complement the observational network, Environment Canada operates a network of buoys across the country. This data becomes part of the collection of weather reports sent to the distribution network and is used to improve marine forecasting. The location, WMO identifiers and names of the Environment Canada buoys are given in the regional annexes.

Mariners are requested to use caution when approaching buoys as mooring chains are normally not detectable from a ship and can be damaged or even severed if there is contact. Such a mishap could possibly result in the buoy going adrift thus requiring a costly effort to recover the platform. Please keep the regional PMO informed of any incidents involving buoys.

Buoy locations: buoy positions are described in each specific regional annex.

5.6 Port Meteorological Officers (PMOs)

In addition to a variety of other duties, PMOs also act as a liaison between Environment Canada and ships involved in the VOS and AVOS programs. This is to encourage vessels to report weather and ice conditions, to instruct observers about procedures and the use of code; to supply observing forms, handbooks (free of charge); to calibrate equipment; and, in some cases, to install, on loan, meteorological or oceanographic instrumentation. The PMO is also responsible for recruiting new vessels to participate in the AVOS program.

If a PMO visits your ship, feel free to ask questions about observing and coding, and reporting weather and ice conditions. Inform the PMO of any concerns you may have with forecasts, warnings, or facsimile products, especially if you have specific problems. The PMO will contact the appropriate party for investigation. Keep the PMO informed of your contact information.

Great Lakes

Tony Hilton, Superintendent
Shawn Rickard, PMO
Environment Canada, MSC
100 East Port Boulevard
Hamilton ON L8H 7S4
Telephone: 905-312-0900
Facsimile: 905-312-0730

Atlantic - Maritimes

Derek Cain, PMO
Environment Canada, MSC
45 Alderney Drive, 16th floor
Dartmouth NS B2Y 2N6
Telephone: 902-426-6616
Cellular: 902-222-6325
Facsimile: 902-426-6404

Atlantic - Newfoundland

Andre Dwyer, PMO
Environment Canada, MSC
6 Bruce Street
Mount Pearl NL A1N 4T3
Telephone: 709-772-4798
Cellular: 709-689-5787
Facsimile: 709-772-5097

St-Lawrence - Quebec

Erich Gola, PMO
Environment Canada, SMC Canada
Place Bonaventure, Portail Nord-Est
800 de la Gauchetière ouest
Suite 7810
Montréal QC H5A 1L9
Telephone: 514-283-1644
Facsimile: 514-496-1867


Denis Erdely, Supervisor
Dragan Radovic, PMO
Environment Canada, MSC
140 13160 Vanier Place
Richmond, BC V6V 2J2
Cellular: 604-785-4555 or 604-340-2153
Facsimile: 604-664-4094

Great Slave Lake
Lake Athabasca
Western Arctic

Ben Lemon, PMO
Environment Canada, MSC
M.J. Greenwood Centre
9345 - 49 Street
Edmonton AB T6B 2L8
Telephone: 780-918-0402
Facsimile: 780-495-7739

Manitoba Lakes

Greg Stansfield, PMO
Monitoring and Systems
Environment Canada, MSC
Suite 150, 123 Main Street
Winnipeg MB R3C 4W2
Telephone: 204-983-6155



MSC will provide Canadian Coast Guard with marine forecast information in NAVTEX format for coastal and offshore areas of responsibility based on IMO standards. Marine forecast information provided will include:

  1. warnings (Winds & ice accretion);
  2. synopsis (major features); and
  3. forecasts (wind, visibility, ice accretion, wave height).

Each bulletin will contain a WMO telecommunication header, a valid period, notes on parameters used within the bulletin, a synopsis section, a weather forecast section and a wave forecast section. Below is a sample of a partial NAVTEX produced for Canadian Coast Guard MCTS Sydney. Note that NAVTEX will make use of abbreviations: this is necessary in order to comply with the physical limitations of the NAVTEX system. In the example, text in superscript indicates how abbreviations are used. Section 5.7.1 provides a detailed list used by NAVTEX.

NAVTEX service sample (518 kHz)
Header FQCN34 CWHX 171400
Title(part one) NAVTEX/1 FOR SYDNEY VCO AT 10:00 AM AST FRI Friday 17 NOV November 2006.

Weather forecast 

Parameters  VLD valid period 17/14Z-19/03Z,
WND(KT) wind in knots, VIS(NM) visibility in nautical miles ABV above 1 NM UNL IND unless indicated, FOG IMPLIES VIS 1 NM OR LESS.





17/14Z STRM storm 980 MB OVR SRN NFLD over southern Newfoundland
18/14Z STRM storm 985 MB OVR NRN NFLD over northern Newfoundland
17/14Z RIDG OVR WRN QUE. ridge over western Québec
18/14Z RIDG OVR WRN GU ST LAW. ridge over western Gulf of St Lawrence

Area name 
Wind forecast 
Visibility forecast 

End of weather 
WNG warning: NIL.
WND: SWsouthwest10-15. 17/18Z SEsoutheast15-20. 18/06Z V15. 18/12Z SWsouthwest15-20. 18/18Z SW20-25. 19/00Z SW15-20.
VIS: 17/13Z-19/03Z PTH-FG .fog banks

{... other marine areas }

Wave height forecast 

Area name
WAVES(M) metres VLD 17/09Z-18/10Z.

Height in meters  1-2.

End of waves and part one


{.... Other marine areas}

NAVTEX service sample (518 kHz)
Header  FQCN34 CYQX 171330
Title (VCO part two)

Weather forecast 

Marine areas 
VLD 17/13Z-19/03Z.

WND: S10-15G20. 17/23Z S10-15. 18/11Z S15-20. 18/18Z SW20.
VIS: 17/12Z-19/02Z FG-PTH.

End of weather 
{... other marine areas}

Wave height forecast  

Marine areas 
WAVES(M) VLD 17/09Z-18/09Z.

1-2. 18/06Z 0-1.

End of waves and part two 
{... other marine areas}


Mariners navigating northern and Arctic waters are advised that marine forecast bulletins issued for MSC’s METAREAs marine forecast service uses similar abbreviated text formatting as is used in the NAVTEX marine weather bulletins issued by the MSC. Further information regarding the MSC’s METAREAs forecast program is provided in RAMN Part 5, Section 5.9, Northern Canada.

5.7.1 Abbreviations used by MSC within NAVTEX and METAREAs Bulletins

Table 5-4 Date/Time Standards

Date/Time standards
April APR
August AUG
December DEC
February FEB
Friday FRI
January JAN
July JUL
June JUN
March MAR
Monday MON
November NOV
October OCT
Saturday SAT
September SEP
Sunday SUN
Thursday THU
Totay TDY
Tonight TNGHT
Tuesday TUE
Wednesday WED

Table 5-5 Marine Forecast Area Dividing Standards

Marine forecast area dividing standards
Forecast AreaAbbreviation
- eastern half -E
- northeastern half -NE
- northern half -N
- northwestern half -NW
- southeastern half -SE
- southern half -S
- southwestern half -SW
- western half -W

Table 5-6 Forecast Parameters

Forecast parameters and their abbreviations
valid VLD
indicated IND
implies IMPL
unless UNL
knots KT
meters M
millibar MB
nautical mile NM

Table 5-7 Wind Elements

Wind elements
Wind elementAbbreviation
east E
north N
northeast NE
northwest NW
south S
southeast SE
southwest SW
variable VRB
west W
light LGT
with gust to G
warning WNG

Table 5-8 Freezing Spray Qualifier

Freezing spray qualifier
Freezing Spray QualifierAbbreviation
freezing spray FRZ-SPR
moderate MOD
at times OCNL
risk RSK
severe SEV
outside the ice edge OUT-EDGE
over open water OVR-OW

Table 5-9 Wave Elements

Wave elements
Wave elementAbbreviation
ice covered ICE

Table 5-10 Weather Elements

Weather elements
Weather elementAbbreviation
blizzard BZ
blowing snow BS
drizzle DZ
flurries LGT-SN
fog FG
fog banks PTH-FG
freezing drizzle FRZ-DZ
freezing rain FRZ-RA
hail HL
heavy rain HVY-RA
heavy snow HVY-SN
heavy thunderstorm HVY-TS
ice fog IFG
ice pellets IP
light snow LGT-SN
mist MST
mist patches PTH-MIST
rain RA
rain and snow mixed MIX-RASN
scattered SCT
showers SHWRS
snow SN
thunderstorm TS
waterspout WTSPT

Table 5-11 - Weather/Visibility Elements (qualifier)

Weather/visibility elements (qualifier)
Weather/visibility elementAbbreviation
at times OCNL
heavy HVY
occasional OCNL
very poor* VERY POOR
good* GOOD
as low as 1 mile NR 1
in precipitation IN-PRECIP
near zero NR 0
poor* POOR
one mile or less 0-1
above one mile ABV 1
visibility VIS
moderate* MOD

Table 5-12 - Trend Descriptors (synopsis)

Trend descriptors (synopsis)
Trend descriptorAbbreviation
building BLDN
dissipating DISS
deepening DPN
intensifying INTSF
merging MERG
quasi-stationary QSTNR
splitting SPLIT
weakening WKN

Table 5-13 - Systems Descriptors (synopsis)

Systems descriptors (synopsis)
Systems descriptorsAbbreviation
cold front C-FRONT
cold COL
disturbance DISTURB
flat low FLAT LOW
frontal system FRONT
hurricane HURR
low LOW
trough TROUGH
post tropical storm POST-TS
high HIGH
ridge RIDG
storm STRM
tropical depression TD
tropical storm TS
warm front W-FRONT

Table 5-14 - Position Descriptors (synopsis)

Position descriptors (synopsis)
Position descriptorsAbbreviation
cape CAP
coastal CSTL
from FM
island IS
latitude LAT
lake LK
longitude LONG
near NR
located on a line ON LINE
over OVR
pacific PAC
peninsula PEN
river RIV
strait STR

Table 5-15 - Cardinal Point Descriptors (synopsis)

Cardinal point descriptors (synopsis)
Cardinal point descriptorsAbbreviation
central CENTRAL
east E
eastern ERN
east – west E-W
from FM
north N
northeast NE
northeastern NERN
northeast-southwest NE-SW
northern NRN
north - south N-S
northwest NW
northwestern NWRN
northwest-southeast NW-SE
south S
southeast SE
southeastern SERN
southern SRN
southwest SW
southwestern SWRN
west W
western WRN

Table 5-16 - Territorial References (synopsis)

Territorial references (synopsis)
Territorial referencesAbbreviation
Alberta ALTA
British Columbia BC
Great Lakes GRT LKS
Gulf of St Lawrence GU ST LAW
Labrador LAB
Manitoba MAN
New Brunswick NB
Newfoundland NFLD
Newfoundland and Labrador NL
Nova Scotia NS
Northwest Territories NWT
Ontario ONT
Prince Edward Island PEI
Quebec QUE
Saskatchewan SASK
Yukon Territory YT

5.7.2 Ice Elements

Table 5-17 - Ice Concentration

Ice Concentration
Ice concentrationAbbreviation
1 tenth 1
10 tenths 10
2 tenths 2
3 tenths 3
4 tenths 4
5 tenths 5
6 tenths 6
7 tenths 7
8 tenths 8
9 plus tenths 9+
9 tenths 9
9 to 10 tenths (lake ice) 9-10
bergy water BW
consolidated CONS
ice free IF
open water OW
trace of TR-

Table 5-18 - Ice Type

Ice Type
Ice typeAbbreviation
first year ice FYI
grey ice GI
greywhite ice GWI
medium ice MEDI
new ice NI
old ice OI
thick ice TKI
thin ice THI
very thick ice VTKI

Table 5-19 - Ice Qualifier

Ice Qualifier
Ice qualifierAbbreviation
light LGT
moderate MOD
pressure PRESS
strong STRG

Table 5-20 - Ice General

Ice General
Ice generalAbbreviation
conditions CDNS
edge EDGE
estimated EST
except EXC
ice ICE
including INCL
possible POSS
along the coast ALNG CST

Table 5-21 - Ice Direction

Ice Direction
Ice directionAbbreviation
eastward EWD
northeastward NEWD
northward NWD
northwestward NWWD
southeastward SEWD
southward SWD
southwestward SWWD
westward WWD


* The visibility ranges associated with descriptive visibility terms as used in METAREAs visibility forecasts are given in the following table.

Table 5-22 - Visibility Category and Range

Visibility category and visibility range
Visibility category (NAVTEX term)Visibility Range (nautical miles)
Very poor (VERY POOR) Less than 0.5 (vis <0.5)
Poor (POOR) 0.5 or greater and less than 2 (0.5 ≤ vis < 2)
Moderate (MOD) 2 or greater and 5 or less (2 ≤ vis < 5)
Good (GOOD) Greater than 5 (5 < vis)

Suggestions / Comments

Suggestions / Comments

Text description of Environment Canada's Suggestions and Comments form

5.8 Pacific Coast

5.8.1 Marine Weather Forecast Program

The Pacific Storm Prediction Centre (PSPC) located in Vancouver, BC issues regular marine forecast and technical synopsis 4 times daily at the same time throughout the year. The forecasts are valid out to midnight of the following day. Additional products include a 3 to 5 day marine wind outlook and a wave height forecast issued twice daily.

Table 5-23 - Production Schedule – Text Format

Forecast production schedule in text format
Forecast NameIssue TimeTime ZoneMarine Region
Technical marine synopsis 04:00, 10:30, 16:00, 21:30 PDT / PST Pacific waters
Marine forecast 04:00, 10:30, 16:00, 21:30 PDT / PST Pacific waters
Marine weather statement as needed   Pacific waters
Wave height forecast 04:00, 16:00 PDT / PST Pacific waters
Extended marine forecast 04:00, 16:00 PDT / PST Pacific waters

Table 5-24 - Production Schedule - NAVTEX format (refer to Part 2 for the MCTS broadcast schedule)

Forecast production schedule in NAVTEX format
MCTS CentresNameHeaderIssue Time
Prince Rupert VAJ - South Navtex FQCN33 CWVR 04:00, 10:30, 16:00, 21:30 PDT/PST
Prince Rupert VAJ - North Navtex FQCN35 CWVR 04:00, 10:30, 16:00, 21:30 PDT/PST

Marine Weather Warnings (refer to Table 5-1).

Note the following regional particularities:

  Warning TypesComments
1 Strong wind warning Issued only from March 20 to Remembrance Day.
Applies to the inner waters only: Queen Charlotte Strait, Johnstone Strait, Strait of Georgia, Howe Sound, Haro Strait and Strait of Juan de Fuca.


5.8.2 Marine Weather Observations and Forecast Bulletins

Local weather observations are available for several stations including lighthouses, ocean buoys, automatic weather reporting stations and other stations of the regular weather network. The broadcast listing provides more information on available stations and broadcast times. Marine forecast bulletins are updated at regular intervals or whenever necessary. These bulletins are available on MSC’s Automated Telephone Answering Device (ATAD), as well as Weatheradio and Canadian Coast Guard’s continuous marine broadcast.

5.8.3 Weatheradio Canada

Weatheradio is a public service designed to make weather information available over VHF or FM radio continuously. Weatheradio is dedicated to transmitting up to the minute weather reports and forecasts directly to all users including the marine community.

Environment Canada Weatheradio operates four main stations serving Pacific region. These are:

 Main stations serving Pacific region
StationsCall SignFrequency (MHz)Note
Vancouver – Victoria XKK506 162.400 Continuous broadcast
Port Hardy (FM) CBPD-FM 103.700 Continuous broadcast
Port Hardy VFM839 162.525 Continuous broadcast
Ucluelet CIZ319 162.525 Continuous broadcast
Port Alberni VFM825 162.525 Continuous broadcast
Prince Rupert VXB571 162.525 Continuous broadcast
Masset CKK900 162.425 Continuous broadcast

Further information regarding Environment Canada's Weatheradio network.

Table 5-25 - Buoy Positions - Northeast Pacific

Buoy positions in the Northeast Pacific
WMO#NameLAT (deg)LONG (deg)
46004 Middle Nomad 50.930 N 136.095 W
46036 South Nomad 48.355 N 133.938 W
46131 Sentry Shoal 49.906 N 124.985 W
46132 South Brooks 49.738 N 127.931 W
46145 Central Dixon Entrance 54.366 N 132.417 W
46146 Halibut Bank 49.340 N 123.727 W
46147 South Moresby 51.828 N 131.225 W
46181 Nanakwa Shoal 53.833 N 128.831 W
46183 North Hecate Strait 53.617 N 131.105 W
46184 North Nomad 53.915 N 138.851 W
46185 South Hecate Strait 52.425 N 129.792 W
46204 West Sea Otter 51.368 N 128.750 W
46205 West Dixon Entrance 54.165 N 134.283 W
46206 La Perouse Bank 48.835 N 125.998 W
46207 East Dellwood 50.874 N 129.916 W
46208 West Moresby 52.515 N 132.692 W

Figure 5-1 - Marine forecast areas: Pacific waters

Environment Canada map of marine forecast areas in Pacific waters

Text description of Marine forecast areas for Pacific waters

5.8.4 Marine Forecast Areas

Table 5-26 - Pacific Waters

Marine forecast areas in Pacific waters
AreaArea Name
001 Explorer
002 Bowie
North Coast
003 Dixon Entrance West
004 West Coast Haida Gwaii
005 Queen Charlotte Sound
014 Central Coast from McInnes Island to Pine Island
015 Hecate Strait
016 Dixon Entrance East
017 Douglas Channel
South Coast
006 West Coast Vancouver Island North
007 West Coast Vancouver Island South
008 Juan de Fuca Strait
009 Haro Strait
010 Howe Sound
011 Strait of Georgia
012 Johnstone Strait
013 Queen Charlotte Strait

5.8.5 Marine Weather Observations

Table 5-27 - Lighthouse Reports, (Type L), Automatic Reporting Stations (Type A), Ocean Buoys Reports (Type B)

Lighthouse Reports, (Type L), Automatic Reporting Stations (Type A), Ocean Buoys Reports (Type B)
Area NameType
Addenbroke Island L
Ballenas Island A
Bella Bella A
Boat Bluff L
Bonilla Island A, L
Cape Beale L
Cape Flattery (USA)* B
Cape Lazo L
Cape Mudge L
Cape Scott L
Cape St James A
Carmanah Point L
Cathedral Point A
Central Dixon Entrance B
Chatham Point L
Chrome Island L
Cumshewa Island A
Discovery Island A
Dryad Point L
East Dellwood B
EastPoint A
Egg Island L
Entrance Island A, L
Esquimalt Harbour A
Estevan Point A, L
Fanny Island A
Friday Harbour (USA)* A
Green Island L
Grey Islet A
Grief Point A
Halibut Bank  B
Herbert Island A
Holland Rock A
Ivory Island L
Kelp Reef A
Kindakun Rocks A
La Perouse B
Langara Island A, L
Lennard Island L
Lucy Island A
McInnes Island L
Merry Island L
Middle Nomad B
Nanakwa Shoal B
Nootka L
North Hecate Strait B
North Nomad B
Pachena Point L
Pam Rocks A
Pine Island L
Point Atkinson A
Point Wilson (USA)* L
Port Angeles (USA)* L
Prince Rupert A
Pulteney Point L
Quatsino L
Race Rocks A
Rose Spit A
Sandheads A
Sartine Island A
Saturna Island A
Scarlett Point L
Sentry Shoal B
Sheringham Point A
Sisters Island A
Smith Island (USA)* B
Solander Island A
South Brooks B
South Hecate Strait B
South Moresby B
South Nomad B
Tatoosh Island (USA)* A
Trial Island L
Triple Island L
Tsawwassen L
Tsawwassen Ferry A
Victoria Harbour A
Victoria/Gonzales Pt A
West Dixon Entrance B
West Moresby B
West Sea Otter B


* Note that the following stations are located in Washington USA: Cape Flattery, Friday Harbour, Point Wilson, Port Angeles, Smith Island, Tatoosh Island.

5.9 Northern Canada

Includes: Western and Eastern Arctic, Hudson Bay & Major Inland Lakes of Manitoba, Northern Saskatchewan and Northwest Territories.

5.9.1 Marine Weather Forecast Program

The Prairie and Arctic Storm Prediction Centre (PASPC), which is jointly located in Edmonton and Winnipeg, provides marine weather forecasts in support of Arctic marine activity during the open water season from summer into parts of the fall. Wave height forecasts are provided for salt water areas. The PASPC-Edmonton forecast area encompasses Lake Athabasca, Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie River, as well as the waterways of the Western and High Arctic, and Baffin Bay.

The PASPC-Winnipeg provides marine forecasts for Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Foxe Basin, Ungava Bay, and Davis Strait. Marine forecasts are also provided for Lake Winnipeg (north and south basins), Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipegosis during the open water season in support of pleasure and commercial activities.

The forecast program for the Manitoba Lakes continues through the winter months as a public rather than a marine forecast in aid of commercial ice fishing. Minimum and maximum temperatures along with wind chill are included in the forecast.

Table 5-28 Production Schedule - Text Format

Marine weather forecast program production schedule - text Format
Forecast nameIssue TimeTime ZoneMarine region
Technical marine synopsis 06:30, 18:30 MDT / MST Western Arctic
06:30, 18:30 MDT / MST Central Arctic
04:45, 16:45 EDT / EST Hudson Bay and Eastern Arctic
Marine forecast 08:00, 16:30, 21:30 CDT/CST Manitoba
05:00, 17:00 MDT / MST Inland waters (Lake Athabaska, Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie River)
07:00, 19:00 MDT / MST Western Arctic Waterway
05:30, 17:30 EDT / EST Arctic
05:00, 17:00 CDT / CST Hudson Bay
05:30, 17:30 EDT / EST Southern Nunavut
05:00, 17:00 EDT / EST Eastern Nunavut
Extended forecast 05:00, 17:00 MDT / MST Inland waters
07:00, 19:00 MDT / MST Western Arctic Waterway
05:30, 17:30 EDT / EST Arctic
05:00, 17:00 CDT / CST Hudson Bay
05:30, 17:30 EDT / EST Southern Nunavut
05:00, 17:00 EDT / EST Eastern Nunavut
Wave height forecast 07:00, 19:00 MDT / MST Western Arctic Waterway
05:30, 17:30 EDT / EST Arctic
05:00, 17:00 CDT / CST Hudson Bay
05:30, 17:30 EDT / EST Southern Nunavut
05:00, 17:00 EDT / EST Eastern Nunavut
Marine weather statement As required MDT / MSTEDT / EST Central Arctic Eastern Arctic

Table 5-29 - Production Schedule - NAVTEX format (refer to Part 2 for the MCTS broadcast schedule).

Marine weather forecast program production schedule in NAVTEX format
MCTS CentreNameHeaderIssue Time
Iqaluit VFF NAVTEX FQCN36 CWNT 05:30, 17:30 EDT/EST

Marine Weather Warnings (refer to Table 5-1 - Synoptic Warnings).

Note the following regional particularities:

  Warning TypesComments
1 Strong wind warning Applies to Manitoba Lakes, Lake Athabasca, Great Slave Lake and
Mackenzie River

5.9.2 Weather and Ice Messages

Ship weather and ice reports in the international meteorological code, taken at the standard synoptic hours of 00:00, 06:00, 12:00 and 18:00 UTC are solicited from ships of all nationalities which have been recruited by their own national weather service, or other weather services. These reports should be transmitted directly to the circuit using Inmarsat. Alternatively, the observation should be passed to the nearest MCTS Centre, irrespective of the ship’s position. Reports made close to, or even within sight of land, are as important as reports made offshore, due to the greater variability of weather conditions in proximity to a coastline. Such reports contribute to the overall knowledge of Arctic weather from both a real-time operational perspective and from a climate perspective.

The PASPC also welcomes weather, sea, and ice observations from the lakes. Real-time observations, and those up to a few hours after the event, are most valuable. Pass observations to 1 800 66STORM (1 800-667-8676).

Table 5-30 - Buoys Deployed During the Open Water Season

Location of buoys deployed during the open water season
WMO #Location/InformationLAT
45140 Lake Winnipeg South Basin (moored buoy) 50.48 N 96.44 W
45141 Great Slave (moored buoy - 25 nm northeast of Hay River) 61.11 N 115.19 W
45144 Lake Winnipeg North Basin (moored buoy) 53.15 N 98.15 W
45145 Lake Winnipeg between North and South Basins 51.24 N 96.420 W
45150 Great Slave (moored buoy - immediate west of Inner Whaleback Rocks) 61.55 N 113.45 W
48021 Tuktoyaktuk (moored buoy - Beaufort Sea) 70.35 N 133.00 W

The Great Slave Lake buoys are deployed in early July and retrieved in late September or early October. They provide hourly wind, air temperature, surface water temperature and wave data.

The Lake Winnipeg South Basin buoys are deployed annually in May or June and retrieved in October. They provide hourly wind, air temperature, surface water temperature and wave data.

The Tuktoyaktuk buoy is deployed in early August and retrieved in late September. It provides hourly wind, air temperature, surface water temperature, and wave data. 

5.9.3 Weatheradio Canada

Weatheradio is a public service designed to make weather information available over VHF or FM radio continuously. Weatheradio is dedicated to transmitting up to the minute weather reports and forecasts directly to all users including the marine community.

Environment Canada Weatheradio operates several stations serving Northern region. These are:

Environment Canada Weatheradio serves the following stations in the Northern region of Canada
StationCall SignFrequency (MHz)Effective
Power (Watts)
Arviat CKO583 162.400 27 Arviat
Behchoko CHR950 162.475 302 Behchoko
Cap Dorset (Kingait) XJS717 162.550 25 Cap Dorset (Kingait)
Dauphin VBA814 162.550 123 Moon Lake
Fort McPherson CHR956 162.450 245 Fort McPherson
Fort Providence CHR951 162.425 303 Fort Providence
Fort Simpson CHR952 162.400 76 Fort Simpson
Fort Smith CFM468 162.425 309 Fort Smith
Hay River CIE211 162.550 245 Hay River
Inner Whaleback Rocks XKI403 161.650 8 Inner Whaleback Rocks
Inuvik VBU996 162.400 54 Hidden Lake
Iqaluit VEV284 162.550 30 Iqaluit
Iqaluit (FM) CIQA 93.3 42 Iqaluit Airport
Long Point* VCI386 162.550 72 Long Point
Nahanni Butte CHR957 162.525 224 Nahanni Butte
Norman Wells CHR953 162.400 269 Norman Wells
Pine Point XJS786 162.475 389 Pine Point
Rankin Inlet (Kangiglinig) XJS716 162.400 40 Rankin Inlet (Kangiglinig)
Riverton* XLF471 162.400 195 Riverton
Tuktoyatuk CHR955 162.475 269 Tuktoyaktuk
Winnipeg* XLM538 162.550 126 Trizic Building
Yellowknife VBC200 162.400 148 Yellowknife Seismic Station


*Winnipeg, Riverton and Long Point provide continuous broadcast of marine weather forecasts and warnings for the Manitoba Lakes, and of marine weather observations when available. Further information regarding EC's Weatheradio network can be obtained via the Internet at Weatheradio Canada.

Figure 5-2 - Marine Forecast Areas: Northern Canada

Environment Canada map of marine forecast areas in northern Canada

Text description of marine forecast areas for Northern Canada

5.9.4 Marine Forecast Areas

Table 5-31 - Eastern and Western Arctic Waters, and Hudson Bay

Forecast availability period for Eastern and Western Arctic Waters, and Hudson Bay
NumberArea NameForecast Availability Period
100 Prince Alfred Shipping season
101 McClure Shipping season
102 Prince of Wales Shipping season
103 Melville Shipping season
104 Rae Shipping season
105 McClintock Shipping season
106 Byam Shipping season
107 Queens Shipping season
108 Maclean Shipping season
109 (unused) -
110 (unused) -
111 Yukon Coast Shipping season
112 Mackenzie Shipping season
113 Tuktoyaktuk Shipping season
114 Baillie Shipping season
115 Banks Shipping season
116 Amundsen Shipping season
117 Holman Shipping season
118 Dolphin Shipping season
119 Coronation Shipping season
120 Dease Shipping season
121 Maud Shipping season
122 Roch Shipping season
123 Larsen Shipping season
124 Peel Shipping season
125 Barrow Shipping season
126 Jones Shipping season
127 Norwegian Shipping season
128 Eureka Shipping season
129 Clarence Shipping season
130 Kane Shipping season
131 Robeson Shipping season
132 Regent Shipping season
133 Boothia Shipping season
134 Committee Shipping season
135 Admiralty Shipping season
136 Lancaster Shipping season
137 West Baffin Shipping season
138 East Baffin Shipping season
139 West Clyde Shipping season
140 East Clyde Shipping season
141 West Davis Shipping season
142 East Davis Shipping season
143 Cumberland Shipping season
144 West Brevoort Shipping season
145 Central Brevoort Shipping season
146 East Brevoort Shipping season
147 Frobisher Bay Shipping season
148 Resolution Shipping season
149 Ungava Shipping season
150 Nottingham Shipping season
151 West Foxe Shipping season
152 East Foxe Shipping season
153 Igloolik Shipping season
54 Prince Charles Shipping season
155 Coats Shipping season
156 Central Shipping season
157 Arviat Shipping season
158 Churchill Shipping season
159 York Shipping season
160 South-Central Hudson Shipping season
161 South Hudson Shipping season
162 Rankin Shipping season
163 Baker Shipping season
164 Roes Welcome Shipping season
170 North Tuktoyaktuk Shipping season
171 North Mackenzie Shipping season
172 West Prince Alfred Shipping season
173 Northwest Beaufort Shipping season
175 Navy Board Shipping season
176 Pond Shipping season
177 Bathurst Shipping season
310 James Bay Shipping season
311 Belcher Shipping season
312 Puvirnitug Shipping season
701 CT4 Shipping season
702 CU4 Shipping season
703 South Prince-Patrick Shipping season
704 Prince Patrick Shipping season
705 North Prince Patrick Shipping season
706 Liddon Shipping season
707 Fitzwilliam Shipping season
708 Griper Shipping season
709 Ballantyne Shipping season
710 Brock Shipping season
711 Wilkins Shipping season
712 Borden Shipping season
713 Hazen Shipping season
714 Gustaf Shipping season
715 Peary Shipping season
716 South Ellef Ringnes Shipping season
717 Ellef Ringnes Shipping season
718 Hassel Shipping season
719 Massey Shipping season
720 South Sverdrup Shipping season
721 North Sverdrup Shipping season
722 South Axel Heiberg Shipping season
723 Axel Heiberg Shipping season
724 Greely Shipping season
725 Nansen Shipping season
726 Ellesmere Shipping season
727 Ward Hunt Shipping season
728 Bartlett Shipping season
729 Alert Shipping season
739 CV4 Shipping season
740 CV5 Shipping season
745 CW3 Shipping season
746 CW4 Shipping season
747 CW5 Shipping season
752 CX4 Shipping season


* If required, marine forecasts may also be made available outside the regular availability period upon user request.

Table 5-32 - Inland Waters

Forecast availability period for Inland waters
NumberArea NameAvailability Period
180 Great Slave Lake Open water season
181 Lake Athabasca Open water season
182 Lake Manitoba Open water season
183 Lake Winnipeg - south basin Open water season
184 Lake Winnipeg - north basin Open water season
185 Lake Winnipegosis Open water season
190 Wrigley Harbour (mile 0) to Axe Point (mile 91) Open water season
191 Axe Point (mile 91) to Camsell Bend (mile 290) Open water season
192 Camsell Bend (mile 290) to Tulita (mile 512) Open water season
193 Tulita (mile 512) to Fort Good Hope (mile 684) Open water season
194 Fort Good Hope (mile 684) to Point Separation (mile 913) Open water season
195 Point Separation (mile 913) to Kittigazuit Bay (mile 1081) Open water season

Table 5-33 - Danish Marine Forecasts for Baffin Bay Waters available via Danish Meteorological Institute, Copenhagen Telephone: (45) 39 15 7500

Danish Marine Forecasts for Baffin Bay Waters
NumberArea NamePeriod
907 Nunap Isuata Kitaa Year round
908 Nuuarsuit Year round
909 Narsalik Year round
910 Meqquitsoq Year round
911 Attu Year round
912 Uiffaq Year round
913 Qimusseriarsuaq Year round
914 Kiatak Year round

Table 5-34 - Marine Weather Observations – Manned Station Reports

  • Alkalik
  • Fort MacPherson
  • Fort Resolution
  • Hay River
  • Lake Winnipeg: Berens River
  • Resolute Bay
  • Inuvik
  • Tuktoyaktuk
  • Yellowknife
  • Norman Wells
  • Sachs Harbour
  • Kugluktuk
  • Gjoa Haven
  • Coral Harbour
  • Hall Beach
  • Churchill
  • Iqaluit
  • Cape Dorset

Table 5-35 - Marine Weather Observations - Automatic Reports

  • Inner Whale Back Island auto-station
  • Egg Island auto-station (Lake Athabasca)
  • Lake Winnipeg: Gimli
  • Lake Winnipeg: Grand Rapids
  • Lake Winnipeg: George Island
  • Lake Winnipeg: Norway House
  • Lake Winnipeg: Victoria Beach

Table 5-36 - Marine Weather Observations - Buoy Reports

  • Great Slave Lake Buoy #45141
  • Great Slave Lake Buoy #45150
  • Lake Winnipeg Narrows Buoy #45145
  • Lake Winnipeg Buoy #45140 (South Basin)
  • Lake Winnipeg Buoy #45144 (North Basin)

5.9.5 Marine Forecast Service to METAREAs XVII, XVIII and Northwestern Sections of METAREA IV (Hudson Bay & Approaches)

Environment Canada’s METAREAs Forecast Program provides marine forecast service to METAREAs XVII, XVIII, and northwestern sections of METAREA IV during the northern and Arctic shipping season. 

The geographical boundaries of METAREA XVII are as follows: from 67°N 168° 58’W to 90°N to 67°N 120°W then back to 67°N 168° 58’W.

The geographical boundaries of METAREA XVIII are as follows: from 67°N 120°W to 90°N to 67°N 035°W then back to 67°N 120°W.

Forecast service to waters comprising northwestern sections of METAREA IV including Hudson Bay & Approaches covers all sea-areas that lay within the geographical region bounded by 67°N to the north, 071°W to the east, 51°N to the south, and 095°W to the west. 

Marine Forecast service to these METAREAs is tailored to ensure compliance with the relevant standards for this type of service within the framework of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). Meteorological Maritime Safety Information (met MSI) consisting of marine weather warnings and forecasts, wave height forecasts, and sea-ice conditions for waters within these METAREAs is regularly issued twice-daily and updated as required – see maps:

Figure 5-3 - Marine Forecast Areas: METAREAs XVII & XVIII

Marine Forecast Areas

Text description of Marine forecast areas: METAREAs

Figure 5-4 - Marine Forecast Areas: Northwestern METAREA IV 

Environment Canada's map of Northwestern METAREA IV including Hudson Bay and Approaches

Text description of Marine Forecast Areas: Northwestern METAREA IV

5.9.6 Serviced Forecast Zones

Environment Canada currently provides marine weather warnings and forecast, wave height forecasts, and sea-ice conditions, to the following marine zones within METAREAs XVII, XVIII and northwestern sections of METAREA IV:

Table 5-37 FQCN01 CWAO - Marine Forecasts & FICN01 CWIS – Ice Bulletin for METAREA XVII North of 75°N

Marine forecasts for METAREA XVII north of 75° N
NumberArea Name
101 McClure
701 CT4
702 CU4
703 South Prince Patrick
704 Prince Patrick
705 North Prince Patrick
730 CT1
731 CT2
732 CT3
733 CU1
734 CU2
735 CU3
736 CV1
737 CV2
738 CV3
739 CV4
743 CW1
744 CW2
749 CX1
750 CX2
754 CY1
757 CZ1

Table 5-38 - FQCN02 CWAO - Marine Forecasts & FICN02 CWIS - Ice Bulletin for METAREA XVII South of 75°N

Marine forecasts for METAREA XVII south of 75° N
NumberArea Name
100 Prince Alfred
101 McClure
111 Yukon Coast
112 MacKenzie
113 Tuktoyaktuk
114 Baillie
115 Banks
116 Amundsen
117 Holman
170 North Tuktoyaktuk
171 North MacKenzie
172 West Prince Alfred
173 Northwest Beaufort
730 CT1
731 CT2
732 CT3

Table 5-39 - FQCN03 CWAO - Marine Forecasts & FICN03 CWIS – Ice Bulletin for METAREA XVIII North of 75°N

Marine forecasts for METAREA XVII South of 75° N
NumberArea Name
101 McClure
106 Byam
107 Queens
108 MacLean
126 Jones
127 Norwegian
128 Eureka
129 Clarence
130 Kane
131 Robeson
707 Fitzwilliam
708 Griper
709 Ballantyne
710 Brock
711 Wilkins
712 Borden
713 Hazen
714 Gustaf
715 Peary
716 South Ellef Ringnes
717 Ellef Ringnes
718 Hassel
719 Massey
720 South Sverdrup
721 North Sverdrup
722 South Axel Heiberg
723 Axel Heiberg
724 Greely
725 Nansen
726 Ellesmere
727 Ward Hunt
728 Bartlett
729 Alert
740 CV5
741 CV6
742 CV7
745 CW3
746 CW4
747 CW5
748 CW6
751 CX3
752 CX4
753 CX5
755 CY2
756 CY3
757 CZ1

Table 5-40 - FQCN04 CWAO - Marine Forecasts & FICN04 CWIS – Ice Bulletin for METAREA XVIII South of 75°N

Marine Forecasts for METAREA XVIII South of 75°N
NumberArea Name
101 McClure
102 Prince of Wales
103 Melville
104 Rae
105 McClintock
116 Amundsen
117 Holman
118 Dolphin
119 Coronation
120 Dease
121 Maud
122 St. Roch
123 Larsen
124 Peel
125 Barrow
132 Regent
133 Boothia
134 Committee
135 Admiralty
136 Lancaster
137 West Baffin
138 East Baffin
139 West Clyde
140 East Clyde
141 West Davis
142 East Davis
153 Igloolik
154 Prince Charles
175 Navy Board
176 Pond
177 Bathurst
706 Liddon

Table 5-41 - FQCN05 CWAO - Marine Forecasts & FICN05 CWIS – Ice Bulletin for Northwestern Sections of METAREA IV including Hudson Bay & Approaches

Marine Forecasts for METAREA XV
NumberArea Name
150 Nottingham
151 West Foxe
152 East Foxe
155 Coats
156 Central
157 Arviat
158 Churchill
159 York
160 South-Central Hudson
161 South Hudson
162 Rankin
163 Baker
164 Roes Welcome
310 James Bay
311 Belcher
312 Puvirnituq

Forecast service to U.S. waters within METAREA XVII is provided by the National Weather Service. Forecast service to Greenlandic waters within METAREA XVIII is provided by the Danish Meteorological Institute. Further information may be obtained by contacting these agencies directly.

Detailed information regarding the geographic locations and boundaries associated with the METAREAs forecast zones may be obtained by contacting the Meteorological Service of Canada at the following:

Telephone: (709) 256-6612
Facsimile: (709) 256-6627

Additional information may be obtained by consulting the Joint Commission on Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) web site or by consulting the Canadian Coast Guard notices to mariners (NOTMAR) web site.

5.9.7 METAREAs Forecast Transmission

During the navigation season, met MSI for sections of METAREA XVII and XVIII south of 75°N, and northwestern sections of METAREA IV, is broadcast via Inmarsat-C SafetyNET over Inmarsat's Pacific Ocean Region (POR) or Atlantic Ocean Region-West (AOR-W) satellite network. Scheduled broadcast times are: 

  • METAREA XVII (POR) at 03:00 UTC and 15:00 UTC daily.
  • METAREA XVIII (AOR-W) at 03:00 UTC and 15:00 UTC daily.
  • Northwestern METAREA IV (AOR-W) at 03:00 UTC and 15:00 UTC daily.

Met MSI for METAREAs XVII and XVIII will be transmitted using rectangular addressed messaging that encompasses waters comprising these two METAREAs until Inmarsat-C receivers or Mini-C terminals operating in Arctic waters have been updated to recognize the SafetyNET address code C3 = 17 and 18 for METAREAs XVII and XVIII respectively. Users should note that meteorological MSI received by their sat-C terminals may be labeled as navigational MSI.

Met MSI for the northwestern sections of METAREA IV is transmitted using rectangular addressed messaging that encompasses waters comprising Hudson Bay & Approaches. The SafetyNET address code for this rectangular area is C3 = 50n098w18030. Thus only those Inmarsat-C receivers aboard vessels navigating within the boundaries defined by this rectangular area will print out met MSI for the northwestern sections of METAREA IV.

During the navigation season met MSI for sections of METAREA XVII and XVIII north of 70° N is broadcast via High Frequency Narrow Band Direct Printing (HF NBDP) on 8416.5 kHz from the Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) Centre in Iqaluit NU. Scheduled broadcast times are 03:30 UTC and 15:30 UTC daily. Mariners should note that actual HF service provision dates will be announced by Canadian Coast Guard Notice to Shipping.

Mariners navigating northern or Arctic waters may also obtain METAREAs forecast bulletin via internet by accessing Environment Canada’s “Datamart” web page. However, users are cautioned that the internet is not part of the GMDSS MSI dissemination system and should never be relied upon as the only means to obtain the latest marine forecast and warning information. Access to the internet may be interrupted from time to time, or updates may be delayed. Mariners are advised to refer to the appropriate GMDSS-approved marine communication systems such as Inmarsat-C SafetyNET, HF NBDP, or international NAVTEX for the latest information. When accessing Environment Canada’s Datamart web page please ensure the page you are viewing is updated and not from your web browser’s cache. If in doubt, use your web browser’s Refresh or Reload button to update the web page.

5.10 Canadian Ice Service (CIS)

5.10.1 Ice Forecasts

Ice forecasts are produced where there is marine activity. The intent is to advise users of ice conditions including warnings that are in effect or that could develop during the day, the evening and the following day, in marine areas. Forecasts also provide a point by point description of the ice edge.

The iceberg bulletin is produced once a day. The purpose is to convey routine, general information on the iceberg distribution off the Canadian East Coast. The bulletin provides the estimated limit of all known icebergs and a general description of the number of icebergs for each marine area.

Table 5-42 - Production Schedule – Ice Bulletins Text Format

Production Schedule for Ice Bulletins Text Format
Forecast NameIssue TimeTime ZoneMarine Region
Iceberg bulletin 11:00 EDT/EST East Coast Waters
Ice forecasts 10:00 EDT/EST Western and Central Arctic
11:00 EDT/EST Hudson and Foxe
11:00 EDT/EST Eastern and Northern Arctic
10:00 EDT/EST Gulf of St. Lawrence
10:00 EDT/EST East Newfoundland and Labrador waters
12:00 EDT/EST Great Lakes

Table 5-43 - Production Schedule – NAVTEX Format (refer to Part 2 for the MCTS broadcast schedule)

Production Schedule in NAVTEX Format(refer to Part 2 for the MCTS broadcast schedule)
MCTS CentreNameHeaderIssue Time
St John's VON Ice NAVTEX FICN33 CWIS 17:50 (W), 21:50 (S) UTC
Labrador VOK Ice NAVTEX FICN35 CWIS 23:20 UTC
Iqaluit VFF Ice NAVTEX *FICN36 CWIS 07:00, 19:00 UTC
Prescott VBR Ice NAVTEX FICN38 CWIS 00:40, 12:40 UTC
Thunder Bay VBA Ice NAVTEX FICN39 CWIS 06:00, 18:00 UTC


* Ice NAVTEX FICN36 is being broadcast from MCTS Iqaluit since November 20, 2013.

Table 5-44 - Ice Warning Criteria

Ice warning names and warning criteria
 Warning nameWarning criteria
1 Ice Pressure warning Reported or forecast strong ice pressure.
2 Rapid Closing of Coastal
Leads warning
Rapid closing of coastal leads is expected to occur. Leads are corridors of mainly ice-free water surrounded by pack ice.
3  Special Ice Warning When one tenth or more of grey-white ice or older is expected to move into areas when that ice is not normally present, or...
For any unusual or significant ice event that may present a hazard to navigation.

5.10.2 Ice Program

Ice forecasts are issued for daily, monthly and seasonal time scales.

5.10.3 Ice Reports or Observations

Ice reports from ships or aircraft are normally relayed through MCTS Centres for broadcast. These reports are all assimilated in the daily ice charts produced by CIS.

5.10.4 Ice Charts

Current ice charts are produced daily. The area covered by the chart depends on the time of season and these charts are normally broadcast at times specified in tables below.

Once a week, CIS produces Regional ice charts. These charts are intended to be used as a planning tool rather than a tactical support tool and are available on the CIS Website and through commercial communication lines. They are not broadcast through MCTS Centres.

5.10.5 Ice Beacons

In order to better track the ice drift or to verify ice models, CIS deploys a few ice beacons yearly. While most beacons are only reporting their positions, a few are equipped with barometric pressure sensors.

5.10.6 Weatheradio Canada

Ice forecasts and warnings are not broadcast via Weatheradio, however, mariners planning operations in waters impacted by hazardous ice conditions may obtain details regarding ice conditions by consulting the CIS website or by contacting their regional MCTS Centre. Detailed ice information may also be obtained through consultation with an Environment Canada meteorologist using the “Weather One-on-One” ‘1 900’ service at 1-900-565-5555. For cell phone users and credit card billing call 1-888-292-2222. User fees apply.

5.10.7 Ice Areas

Areas for which ice forecasts apply are identical to the marine forecasts area. In addition to these, ice forecasts will cover Lake Michigan, and may cover 3 areas along the East Coast (501 to 503).

501 Tail of the Grand Banks
502 Flemish
503 Southeast Labrador Sea
541 Lake Michigan

Figure 5-5 Ice Information Areas: Eastern and Northern Canada

Suggestions / Comments

Text description of ice information areas for Eastern and Northern Canada

5.10.8 Ice Charts

The following list describes ice charts produced to support marine activities which are available for broadcast. All available charts can be transmitted or re-transmitted on request. MCTS broadcast times are found in PART 2.

Table 5-45 - Ice Charts Listing

Ice Charts Listing
Ice ChartsBroadcast SiteSeason
Iceberg limit MCTS Sydney Year round
Gulf of St. Lawrence MCTS Sydney Winter
Northeast or East Newfoundland Waters MCTS Sydney Winter
Southeast Newfoundland Waters MCTS Sydney Winter
Labrador Coast MCTS Iqaluit Summer
Hudson Strait MCTS Iqaluit Summer
Northern Hudson Bay MCTS Iqaluit Summer
Southern Hudson Bay MCTS Iqaluit Summer
Foxe Basin MCTS Iqaluit Summer
Davis Strait MCTS Iqaluit Summer
Baffin Bay MCTS Iqaluit (Resolute) Summer
Approaches to Resolute MCTS Iqaluit (Resolute) Summer
Queen Maud MCTS Iqaluit (Resolute) Summer
Amundsen Gulf MCTS Iqaluit Summer
Alaskan Coast MCTS Iqaluit Summer
Eureka MCTS Iqaluit (Resolute) *On request
Parry Channel MCTS Iqaluit (Resolute) *On request
M'Clure Strait MCTS Iqaluit (Resolute) *On request
Resolute - Byam MCTS Iqaluit (Resolute) *On request
Bering Strait MCTS Iqaluit *On request
Chukchi MCTS Iqaluit *On request
Nunivak MCTS Iqaluit *On request
Canada Bassin MCTS Iqaluit *On request
Alert MCTS Iqaluit *On request
Nome MCTS Iqaluit *On request
Arctic Ocean MCTS Iqaluit *On request
North Pole MCTS Iqaluit *On request


*On request: Ice charts for Canadian Waters available upon request to MCTS with at least 5-day prior notice.

METOC Halifax (CFH): The Canadian Forces Fleet MetOc Broadcast service (radioteletype and radiofacsimile) was placed in abeyance effective September 2, 2010. The Canadian Forces Fleet MetOc Broadcast may be reinstated and ceased without warning as necessitated by military operational requirements. When notified, MCTS will issue a Notice to Shipping concerning reinstatement or cessation of this service. Broadcasts intended for North Atlantic waters North of 35N and West of 35W. Radio facsimile transmission commences with a 30 second break followed by a 30 second signal.

Table 5-46 - Canadian Coast Guard and Canadian Forces Fleet MetOc Radio Facsimile Stations

Canadian Coast Guard and Canadian Forces Fleet MetOc Radio Facsimile Stations
NameCall SignModulationIndex of CooperationPowerFrequencies (kHz)Drum speed
MCTS Iqaluit VFF J3C (FM) 576 1 KW 3251.1, 7708.1 (USB) 120 RPM
MCTOC Halifax CFH J3C (FM) 576 6 KW 4271, 6496.4, 10536, 13510 120 RPM
MCTOC Halifax CFH J3C (FM) 576 10 KW 122.5 120 RPM
MCTS Sydney VCO J3C (FM) 576 5 KW 4416, 6915.1 M

For correct reception of this broadcast on WMO standard facsimile recorders requiring 2300 Hz for White and 1500 Hz for Black, 1900 Hz centre frequency, radio receivers should be tuned in the UPPER SIDEBAND MODE or USB: add 1.9 to the indicated USB frequencies for FSK frequencies.

5.10.9 Facsimile Broadcast

Upon authorized request from Canadian Coast Guard, C-GCFR can transmit observed conditions via satellite fax. Vessels must make a request through the Canadian Coast Guard to receive it.