NOAA and the National Weather Service provide some useful marine weather products that can be accessed for free with anyone with an internet connection, or failing that, with e-mail capability aboard (SSB, Iridium, whatever). We typically subscribe to the Offshore Waters Text mentioned below and don’t bother with the rest because we also use Chris Parker’s Weather Service and Buoyweather while we’re out of internet range, and add in Passageweather when we’re in range of internet. Each of those services will be discussed in upcoming weather posts.
NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center This is where data from all NOAA’s weather buoys is available to anyone with an internet connection. Click on the link, then zoom into the area you’re interested in. Click on the buoy and you’ll get a pop-up with basic data such as the pressure, wind, gust, air temperature, sea temperature, whatever that buoy measures. If you want more information, click View Details in the bottom of the pop-up. Now it will give you all the info about the buoy, the current information as well as historical data. If you click on E-Mail Access at the bottom of the left column under Observations, you’ll get instructions to have buoy data e-mailed to you, or click “Dial-A-Buoy” to hear the conditions on your cell phone. You can even subscribe to an RSS feed from this page. There’s also a link to the latest NWS marine forecast to make it easy.
NWS Txt forecast for S Florida – Miami Zone .. This is a graphical map when you click on the area, you’ll be taken easily to the coastal forecast. Of course, this one requires an internet connection. There’s a way to get the coastal forecasts e-mailed directly to you from NOAA, but I’m still figuring it out – we never had this luxury when cruising the Western Caribbean! 🙂 We get our text spot forecasts from Buoyweather, click here.
Click here for a listing of NWS marine weather products. All kinds of interesting things for cell phones and others. Click to explore the possibilities.
Click here for the NOAA Marine Text Forecasts and Products. This is a laundry list of every imaginable text forecast from surf forecasts from the Great Lakes to the Offshore ocean stuff. Click on something you’re interested in and you immediately get the text forecast for that product. This is useful because it displays the “code” NOAA uses so you can retrieve this document via ftp e-mail. I used to give the NOAA FTP instructions here, but unfortunately, I have been unable to make them work in 2016. I’m substituting the Saildocs instructions instead – if you have e-mail at sea, you can get most any web page in text format by querying saildocs. For overall instructions of what’s available, send an e-mail to email@example.com – the body of the e-mail should say send info. For instructions on saildocs spot forecasts, send a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. It will autorespond giving you wind/gusts/direction/pressure/wave height (in meters)/direction and period. There are also instructions to subscribe to the spot forecasts. Not perfect, but at least available.
NOAA E-Mail Subscriptions sign up page — Unfortunately for us boaters, NOAA has discontinued weather subscription services as of July 31, 2013. I wish they’d reconsider, but probably not. 🙁
Anyone have easier ways to get text forecasts while at sea, please leave a comment and share. I could sure use the info! Cheers! Jan