Knowing what weather is coming is as important to sailors as how to raise a sail, steer the boat, or how to tack.
- Choosing the right weather to sail in can make the difference between a pleasant, safe voyage or race, or an uncomfortable, dangerous situation.
- The most important decisions for a successful voyage or race may be prior to your departure time.
- Spend a lot of time on the internet learning which weather sites have what you need.
- Know the weather forecast well ahead of time.
- Know what weather products or services you will use at sea.
- The ultimate responsibility for weather forecasts and routing rests with the skipper and his or her properly trained crew.
- Know how you are going to get weather on the boat and practice using it onboard.
- If bad weather is forecast, postpone your departure.
- Even if it is a race, it is the responsibility of the skipper to make the decision not to start the race if weather conditions are a danger to the crew and boat.
Weather Information Sources
Almost all U.S. marine weather comes from NOAA/NWS.
- Get to know the NOAA National Weather Service website: www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/home.htm#graphic
- For weather faxes and satellite images go to: http://tgftp.nws.noaa.gov/fax/ptreyes.shtml
- For weather buoy data: www.ndbc.noaa.gov/
- For NOA Tides: http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/tide_predictions.html
- On the boat, in VHF or cell phone range:
- Use VHF weather, and cell phone apps like NOAA/NWS mobile app, SailFlow.com app, PredictWind.com app, BuoyWeather.com app, Windyty.com app, WeatherNet.com app.
- Look for cell phone marine weather apps at www.appcrawler.com
- iPhone: www.appcrawlr.com/ios-apps/best-apps-marine-weather
- Android: www.appcrawlr.com/android-apps/best-apps-marine-weather
- Offshore: USCG High Seas weather (schedule): www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/vhfvoice.htm
- Grib files – www.saildocs.com , www.predictwind.com , www.weathernet.com
This is a CCA Safety Moment
John Jourdane - SOC Station – October 2016