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Old 01-07-2015, 07:38   #1
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Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

Sorry for the rookie question. We don't have any of the fancy Raymarine, etc. devices on our boat. We will be doing a bunch of coastal cruising and maybe some ICW cruising. Weather will be our first priority every day and during the day. What are your thoughts on the best way to get accurate weather while cruising? Thank you.
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:17   #2
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Re: Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

The U.S. Coast Guard broadcasts coastal forecasts and storm Warnings of interest to the mariner on VHF channel 22A following an initial announcement on VHF channel 16.

The NOAA Weather Radio network provides voice broadcasts of local and coastal marine forecasts on a continuous cycle, on VHF 162.400 MHz (WX2)
162.425 MHz (WX4)
162.450 MHz (WX5)
162.475 MHz (WX3)
162.500 MHz (WX6)
162.525 MHz (WX7)
162.550 MHz (WX1) depending on location.

Per ➥ NOAA Weather Radio - Station Listing
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:25   #3
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Re: Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

iDevice with predictwind, passageweather.com, sailflow, NOAA coastal, etc...

Be sure to compare several models to see which ones are accurate - almost none are accurate more than 2 days out.
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:28   #4
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Re: Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

I like windfinder.
Windfinder - wind, wave & weather reports, forecasts & statistics worldwide
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:29   #5
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Re: Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

Robb,
1) As usual, Gord swooped-in and gave you a great answer...
FYI, the US NWS/NOAA Marine Weather info/forecasts are considered the "gold standard" of marine weather...

There are coverage maps available for the NOAA weather stations as well..
NOAA Weather Radio - Map State Selection

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert.hamic View Post
We will be doing a bunch of coastal cruising and maybe some ICW cruising. Weather will be our first priority every day and during the day. What are your thoughts on the best way to get accurate weather while cruising? Thank you.
2) If you need weather info/forecasts when further offshore, and/or in remote areas, outside the of the coastal waters forecasts, and/or when beyond VHF radio range (where there is no Wi-Fi and cellular service), you will find just about everything you'd ever need to know about access to offshore weather here...
Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts
(and you can use something as simple as a $100 SW Receiver to have good access to weather info/forecasts)


And, a series of easy-to-understand videos on this subject, here...
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY




I hope this helps...

Fair winds..

John
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Old 01-07-2015, 15:09   #6
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Re: Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

WindMapper is another freebie.
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:20   #7
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Re: Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

Wow, thanks for the great info. Where are y'all cruising these days?
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:24   #8
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Re: Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
The U.S. Coast Guard broadcasts coastal forecasts and storm Warnings of interest to the mariner on VHF channel 22A following an initial announcement on VHF channel 16.

The NOAA Weather Radio network provides voice broadcasts of local and coastal marine forecasts on a continuous cycle, on VHF 162.400 MHz (WX2)
162.425 MHz (WX4)
162.450 MHz (WX5)
162.475 MHz (WX3)
162.500 MHz (WX6)
162.525 MHz (WX7)
162.550 MHz (WX1) depending on location.

Per ➥ NOAA Weather Radio - Station Listing
Yep. Unless going offshore, this is all you need in the US. A great service that so many people (even boat owners) often seem unaware of.
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Old 02-07-2015, 08:23   #9
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Re: Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

Robert, We have been cruising the ICW and Gulf since 1987. A few things we have learned is that more often than you might suspect, the NOAA VHF weather broadcasts miss the forecasts, sometimes by a mile. They cover a broad area and what you get are averages. For instance a 40% chance of rain does not mean the is a 40% chance you will get rain. it mean that 40% of the forecast area will see rain. So do you know how big the forecast area is? A good rule of thumb that we have used and been closer to our conditions than the actual forecast is to add 5 knots to the wind speed and double the forecast sea state. If those conditions are acceptable, we head out. If not, we stay put. Keep in mind that almost all of the website that provide weather are using the GFS model and they will all give you about the same forecasts. These are models, so basically a wild a__ gues as to what is coming. Be suspect of a forecast beyond 24 hours and very, very suspect of a forecast out 4 hours or more. Listen and check forecasts when you go to bed at night and then again just before you head out. You will be amazed at how many times what you heard that evening is nothing like what you will hear in the morning. Here are a few of the resources we use. But of course you will have to have an internet connection...

National Weather Service
Click anywhere on the map for a spot forecast for any location, even in the middle of the Gulf.
WunderMap® | Interactive Weather Map and Radar | Weather Underground
Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers - PassageWeather
Coastal/Great Lakes Forecasts by Zone
National Hurricane Center
Zoom into the area you want and click on a yellow marker for current conditions.
zyGrib: grib file, weather data visualization
Download this little program and run it daily for a 7 day forecast.
WindGURU: United States - Maui (north shore)
earth :: a global map of wind, weather, and ocean conditions
http://www.swellinfo.com/

For a good resource to learn all about weather forecasting have a look at Frank Singleton's Weather and Sailing Pages / Franks-Weather | The Weather Window . Good luck and stay safe out there. Chuck
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:28   #10
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Re: Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

If going offshore, or coastal in the Gulf, Buoyweather.com is a big help.
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:34   #11
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Re: Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

I don't know why NOAA etal have so much trouble getting the forecast right. I can tell with near 100% accuracy where the wind is going to come from when I decide which direction I want to sail.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:28   #12
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Re: Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

For SW Florida I use : Doppler ZOOM - Interactive Street-Level Radar - NBC-2.com WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral & Naples, Florida

Real time radar sweep.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:51   #13
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Re: Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

Re: wind speed forecasts, my practice is to add the two figures given and prepare myself for that. For example, if the forecast is "10 to15 knots" I plan for 25 knots. One of my favorite web sites is "earth.nullschool.net"-a graphic representation of the winds.
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Old 02-07-2015, 11:27   #14
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Re: Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnchorageGuy View Post
Robert, We have been cruising the ICW and Gulf since 1987. A few things we have learned is that more often than you might suspect, the NOAA VHF weather broadcasts miss the forecasts, sometimes by a mile.
When you're cruising full time, you become very aware of the weather, much more so than when spending most of your day at home or in an office. When we were cruising, at least, I did, and like you, I began to have a lot of disdain for weather reports, but I finally figured out that the best weather window you can really count on, is about three hours, no matter where it comes from.
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Old 02-07-2015, 11:36   #15
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Re: Best Way To Get Weather In Gulf or ICW

When out of internet and VHF range, we settle for Delorme InReach SE for text messaging and to give position reports to those back home. That's about a $250 unit, and another $65 per month for unlimited texting. Subscribed to by the month. The InReach uses the same satellite system as Iridium.

For weather, we are going with OCENS forecasting received by the InReach. Depending upon length of forecast you want, that is another $6-8 per month. Subscribe by the month. Several have written me who have used and happy with it.

We don't shove off until early next year, so for now cannot give you anything more than the feedback provided to us by others who used both of these. Both were very happy with them.

Oh, and when in the Bahamas, we will have a receive-only SSB. We will probably spend more time in densely inhabited areas and won't be able to take advantage of distant VHF cruisers networks.
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