Former Oriole commander teaches weather forecasting

Ever wondered why a red sky at night is a sailor’s delight? One former HMCS Oriole Commanding Officer is looking to pass on the secret.

Scott Crawshaw, who served as Oriole’s Captain from 1999 to 2003, is hosting a Basic Weather Forecasting program Nov. 1, to teach civilian and military mariners the ins and outs of weather prediction.

“This is a skill all mariners should have,” says Crawshaw, who currently works as J2 Geographical Intelligence Maritime for Canadian Forces Intelligence Command as a Lieutenant-Commander, ensuring vessels throughout the Canadian Armed Forces have proper, up-to-date charts and hydrographic information.

“When you’re out on the water you’re at the whim of the elements, and if you can’t avoid a bad situation you should at least know when one is coming.”

Crawshaw’s body of knowledge is extensive, as he has charted courses across the world, and tallied 50,000 nautical miles aboard Oriole, and his personnel vessel Peregrinata.

“I retired for a few years, and sailed the world with my family on Peregrinata. I learned a lot about myself and the sea in those years,” he says. “Hopefully the lessons I’ve learned will be of use to my students.”

The program is being hosted through the Bluewater Cruising Association, a club that Crawshaw has been a member for the past 14 years. During the weather forecasting program, students will learn to combine the information gleaned from weather forecasts, as well as personal observations, to predict weather changes and their effect on sailing conditions.

“There is a lot of information you can get from simple weather readings and forecast maps online, as long as you know what you’re looking for,” says Crawshaw. “It’s just a matter of having the pieces of the puzzle in front of you, and knowing how to put them together.”

One teaching tool he will use is a virtual race from Victoria to Hawaii. Using weather readings, charts, and the information learned during the seminar, students will have to chart a safe course across the Pacific.

“I find that having to use the information in a real world situation drives the importance of the message home,” he says. “Learning something is a lot different from having to implement it, and a simulated experience like this can help bridge that gap.”

To register for the Basic Weather Forecasting program, and other programs, visit

Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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