PADDLERsmart! Canada Knowledge Base

Module 03 - Trip Planning and Preparation


In the event of high winds that affect boat operation, Environment Canada will issue wind warnings. Wind warnings are based on wind speed, and boat operators must take action during certain wind conditions to ensure their safety and the safety of their passengers (guests)

See the chart below for wind types, speeds, and how to react if you get caught in a wind warning.

Remember: As a boat operator, you should always ensure that passengers (guests) are wearing a properly fitted and approved life jacket or PFD in all wind conditions!

If you’re caught in a Small Craft or Gale Warning: 

  • Keep passengers (guests) low in the boat, near the centerline
  • Operate at a reduced speed
  • Turn on all navigation lights
  • Attempt to cross waves at a 45° angle until sheltered waters are found
  • Keep a lookout for approaching boats and floating debris.
  • If wind and wave conditions make it difficult to proceed, attempt to anchor your boat until the storm subsides
  • If your boat is taking on water, pump out bilges to keep the boat high in the water
  • Use an approved distress signal to signal your need for assistance if you are unable to make safe passage

If you’re caught in a Storm Warning:

  • Immediately signal your need for assistance with an approved distress signal


Campfire Collective truck icon.



Go boldly, tell your story. Campfire is building a collective of ambassadors who share a passion for the wild. If you’re an influencer, publisher or sport expert drop us a line. Let’s hook up and inspire others.

Campfire Collective high five icon.



Stay in the loop. Sign up for our newsletter
to get the latest stories from around the fire.