Safety‎ > ‎Risks‎ > ‎


Weather can change dramatically during a short sail. Sailors should check the weather and wind speed before going sailing and continually recheck it while sailing. Use newspapers, the internet or the radio. There is a small radio tuned to the weather band in the clubhouse. Learn to recognize signs of changes in the weather. The most obvious are towering dark clouds. If you see lightning, get off the river. Watch the water surface – approaching gusts are marked by an approaching line of dark water.  

Check weather reports and listen or watch for - 
  • Small Craft Advisory (winds of 37 k per hour to 61 k per hour) 
  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch - issued when conditions are likely for the development of thunderstorms 
  • Severe Thunderstorm Alert - issued when a severe storm has developed, producing one or more of the following conditions: flooding rain, destructive winds with gusts greater that 90 km/h, hail of at least 10 to 20 mm in diameter, or intense lightning 

Members can access weather and wind information from the following web sites: 

Environment Canada Ottawa Area. This web site is the best source of accurate weather and wind speed forecasts. Unfortunately the web site only indicates wind speed of 20 km/h and higher  for radar data

Weather Network Ottawa Area. Less accurate than Environment Canada but provides information on forecast wind up to any speed. The web site also provides maps which indicate wind speed. 

Learn to estimate wind speed and match it to your abilities. The Beaufort Scale is a system for judging wind speed by observing the movement of waves, flags, tree branches, etc. 


Safety Tip: Use the lightning safety 30-30 Rule...if you count less than 30 seconds between the lightning flash and the sound of thunder, it is time to take shelter. Wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder to resume activities.