Crossing the Halifax Harbour safely by sea kayak demands careful attention and effective communication.
I’ve paddled inside of Halifax Harbour on several occasions but I’ve never actually traversed its mouth. It’s only 5.4 NM / 10 km from Chebucto Head to Devils Island but some BIG ships pass through and wouldn’t even see a kayak, let alone feel one under its hull. Throw in a little fog and the situation could be dangerous.
Concerned about the potential for danger, I contacted the Port of Halifax through their public website and promptly received a response directly from the Port Marine Manager. It turns out that the mouth is outside of the Harbour Limits and technically not subject to the port’s operating procedure. That said, I was assured that Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) is the best contact and encouraged for the safest crossing to make early and frequent contact with “Halifax Traffic” on VHF channel 12 and/or 14.
Here’s a link to the Port Practices and Procedures, which has some interesting content. http://portofhalifax.ca/port-operations/port-practices-and-procedures-manual/.