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National Weather Service Marine Forecasts

Marine Forecast Offices and Centers Marine Forecast Offices & Centers provide links to their products as well as additional regionally focused information. Click on map for links.

Shortcut to the National Hurricane Center

What is a "Marine Zone Forecast"?
What is a "Marine Point Forecast"?

How can I get a marine forecast via zip, city, or lat/lon?

Did you know that the height of some individual waves may be twice the height of the forecast seas? And may present an even greater danger near shore?

 

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MARINE PRODUCTS VIA INTERNET

The Internet is not part of the National Weather Service's operational data stream and should never be relied upon as a means to obtain the latest forecast and warning data. Become familiar with and use other means such as NOAA Weather Radio to obtain the latest forecasts and warnings. Please read our disclaimer.

Note:  Any reference to a commercial product or service does not imply any  endorsement by the National Weather Service as to function or suitability for your purpose or environment. 

Marine Text Forecasts and Products
The majority of National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts and warnings may be found under the NWS Marine Forecasts page. Of specific interest to mariners are the NWS Marine Text Forecasts and Products. For convenience, High Seas, Offshore and Coastal marine forecasts are subdivided by sea area or zone and available via the Internet using our text interface or graphic interface. Individual NWS Forecast Offices and Centers producing marine forecasts provide links to their products as well as additional regionally focused information (see map above). 

Explanation of Codes Used in Various Marine Text Forecasts and Weather Broadcasts:

Marine Graphic Forecasts and Products
Graphic marine forecasts are produced by NWS for broadcast via radiofax and also made available via the Internet at Marine Radiofax Charts .

The National Weather Service also plans to make available marine forecast data in gridded and vector formats for display on electronic charts and use by other value-added applications. Graphics using these data are available via the Internet for most U.S. coastal areas. Gridded forecast data for offshore and high seas areas are in the process of becoming available.

Also see Computer Generated Model Guidance below. 

Satellite and RADAR Imagery
Satellite imagery may be found on the GOES webpage. and is also available from NASA. Ocean surface winds and other data derived from polar orbiting and geostationary satellites may be found on NOAA's Marine Observing Systems Team Homepage and NOAA's Coastwatch Homepage. Information and links to Sea Surface Temperature Charts and Gulf Stream charts may be found on our FAQ webpage. NEXRAD Doppler Radar images are available on the Internet on the NWS Homepage and local NWS Forecast Offices homepages. NEXRAD Doppler Radar images may also be found on local cable channels and the webpages of local media including TV stations, radio stations and newspapers as well as others. 

Ice Analysis, Forecasts and Iceberg Reports
Ice analyses, forecasts and iceberg reports are available from the National Ice Center, the U.S. Coast Guard's International Ice Patrol, and local NWS marine forecast offices in areas such as Alaska where ice is a concern. Ice forecasts and observations are also made available as radiofax, text products and computer generated model guidance

Computer Generated Model Guidance
Computer generated model guidance products used by marine forecasters is available from the Ocean Modeling Branch, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, the Environmental Modeling Center, the "Operational Forecast System" Model Guidance from the National Ocean Service, and the Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System (GLCFS).

NCEP model data in graphic and gridded binary (GRIB) form may be found on NCEP's N.O.M.A.D.S. (NOAA Operational Model Archive Distribution System), NOMADS3 and NOMADS5 webservers.

The Weather Charts webpage contains charts, intended as guidance to forecasters, which can prove of value to mariners. Note: Several charts listed under "Weather Charts", which are no longer required to support NWS operations, may be terminated or made available at alternate sites. This should not include those which are broadcast by marine radiofacsimile.

Caution...these data have not been validated by marine forecasters and may be misleading. Mariners should use these data in conjunction with forecaster generated forecasts.

Marine Climatological Information
User-friendly climatological information for marine coastal areas may be found in Appendix B of the National Ocean Service's Coast Pilot's, volumes 1-9. These appendices, which were prepared by the National Climatic Data Center, also contain other useful meteorological information such as conversion tables. Visit their webpage for further information.

The National Geospacial-Intelligence Agency now makes available some of its Pilot Charts on-line.  

Foreign Marine Forecasts
Links to foreign meteorological services are available courtesy of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The WMO has also introduced an experimental GMDSS Webpage which, as a first step, provides links to worldwide meteorological bulletins and warnings issued for the high seas via SafetyNet.

Also try the Naval Oceanography Portal for data which is outside the area of U.S. marine forecast responsibility.

Buoy and Other Real-Time Observations
The latest coastal and offshore weather observations from NOAA fixed and drifting data buoys and Coastal-Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) stations may be found at the National Data Buoy Center webpage. Real time meteorological and oceanographic observations for several sites are also available from the Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (Ports). PORTS is a program of the U.S. National Ocean Service that supports safe and cost-efficient navigation by providing ship masters and pilots with accurate real-time information required to avoid groundings and collisions. Several National Ocean Service tide gages are also equipped with ancillary meteorological sensors. Regionally focused observation data may also be found on the webpages of local NWS Forecast Offices. Some marine observations may also be found on our NWS Marine Product Listing and Schedule. Historical and real-time beach temperature data is available from the NODC Coastal Water Temperature Guide

NOAA's Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL) offers a Display of Surface Data from several government, commercial and voluntarily operated mesonets as well as observations of those of the Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) Program and data buoys. A variety of marine observations may also be viewed on the National Ocean Service's nowCOAST Web Portal.

For mariners with a low speed Internet connection....... The latest buoy or C-MAN data may be retrieved via the Internet as in the following example where 44017 refers to buoy #44017 and SJSN4 refers to non-floating observation platform SJSN4.

http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/mini_station_page.php?station=44017
http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/mini_station_page.php?station=SJSN4
 

WEBCAMS
The advent of the Internet has brought about a new type of observation system popular with beachgoers, surfers, and others - the WEBCAM which displays live images of current conditions. To find WEBCAMS for marine areas use your favorite Internet search engine to search for such key words as  Beach Cams,  Surf Cams,  Coastal Cams,  Ocean Cams,  Port Cams and  Cruise Cams. You may wish to refine your search by adding your geographic area to the search's key words.

Tide Predictions, Observations and Storm Surge Forecasts
Near real-time Water Level Observations, and Predicted Tide Information for the calendar year, are available from the National Ocean Service. Read the NOS Tides FAQ for further information on obtaining NOS tides and tidal current data. Caution is urged in using tide data made available at University and other webpages. This information may not be based on current government data and be of unknown quality.

Computer generated, Extratropical Water Level Forecasts are available from the National Weather Service's Meteorological Development Laboratory. Status maps are provided to give the user a quick overview of a region. Forecasts of storm surge produced as a result of a tropical storm or hurricane are available from your local NWS Forecast Office

The "Operational Forecast System" Model Guidance from the National Ocean Service have been created to provide the maritime community with improved short-term predictions of water levels. Please be advised that these predictions are based on a hydrodynamic model and, as such, should be considered as computer-generated forecast guidance.

For Emergency Responders and Planners
NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration, National Ocean Service, offers a series of job aids and software to predict weather and ocean affects on the trajectory of hazardous materials such as oil spills. The information may be helpful for further applications as well.

Historic Weather Forecasts, Satellite Images and Oceanographic Data
For historic weather forecasts, satellite images and oceanographic data, contact the National Climatic Data Center and National Oceanographic Data Center, found on our listing of Phone Numbers and Addresses

Observations from Mariners
All NWS marine forecasts rely heavily on the Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) program for obtaining meteorological observations. Ship observations may also be found on the National Data Buoy Center - Observations Search, National Data Buoy Center - Ships Observation Report, NOAA's Forecast Systems Laboratory (choose maritime), CoolWX, SailWX.info, and Oceanweather, webpages. 

The National Weather Service has a number of other volunteer observation programs including the SKYWARN, MAREP, MAROB, MARS, APRSWXNET/Citizen Weather Observer Program (CWOP) and the Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) which are of benefit to the marine community.

Marine Webpages
The Internet contains a great number of webpages of interest to the mariner. Visit our Links page for a listing of recommended webpages pertaining to Marine Weather. The U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Telecommunications Information webpage contains an excellent description of marine communication systems. There are also many other Internet sites of interest to the mariner. Use one the Internet search engines to search on topics such as "marine weather", "radiofax", "radiofacsimile", "weather buoys", "tides", etc. The NOAA Library provides an excellent listing of links to marine related webpages within NOAA and elsewhere.

Marine Weather Publications On the Web
Many marine weather related government publications are available on the Web. Visit our publications webpage for several we recommend including our popular Marine Service Charts, the Weather Log Magazine, and our listing of Worldwide Marine Radiofacsimile Broadcast Schedules . 

Internet Access for Mariners
Internet at sea can be problematic unless you stay within cellular telephone range of shore.  "Marine WIFI" technology is rapidly becoming popular at marinas and in favorite harbor areas. Satellite services including Inmarsat,   Iridium,   Globalstar,     Thuraya,     Emsat,     ACeS,   tracNet/DirecPC,   BoatracsOrbcomm , and MTN are available, however, costs are generally greater.  Several companies offer e-mail services designed to optimize satellite connectivity including MAILASAIL, OCENS, UUPLUS and XGate . Full Internet access is often available if you have a satellite terminal onboard, but presently unless you restrict your use to e-mail messages, costs can be high. A number of satellite services such as Inmarsat-C offer e-mail messaging services only and provide no access to the World Wide Web. Several transmission and data compression schemes are available and in development to make the Web more accessible to the mariner. There are also several public FTP-to-EMAIL and WWW-to-EMAIL servers available to allow Internet access for users who do not have direct or cost effective access to the World Wide Web but who are equipped with an e-mail system. CLICK HERE for information. Low cost, worldwide, access to the World Wide Web via satellite should be available to the mariner in the next five to ten years. 

 If you have an HF marine radio, E-mail service is available from companies such as Sailmail, CruiseEmail, Global Marine Networks, Kielradio, Globe Wireless and Shipcomm LLC (WLO/KLB). E-mail can be accomplished at no cost using amateur radio

The domain of the Internet is rapidly expanding to now include wireless devices such as so-called "Internet-Ready" digital cellular phones and Personal Data Assistants (PDAs). These offer great potential for making marine forecasts available to coastal mariners, who have limited other options available. The majority of these other options are by voice where there is always the possibility of misunderstanding.
    A webpage for the most popular marine text forecasts compatible with many celphones and PDA's may be found at cell.weather.gov.
    A low bandwidth webpage containing marine and public forecasts intended for mobile devices may be found at: mobile.weather.gov (includes a capability to view the forecast for any zip/city and radar images).
    Visit http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutwap.shtml where you will find NHC's wireless web page. There you can find the link to obtain NHC's most popular hurricane products, offshore forecasts, and high seas forecasts.
 

National Weather Service Products Available Via E-MAIL (FTPMAIL)
National Weather Service marine text forecasts, radiofax charts and buoy observations are available via e-mail. Further, FTPMAIL may be used to acquire any file on the tgftp.nws.noaa.gov FTP server. The FTPMAIL server is intended to allow Internet access for mariners and other users who do not have direct access to the World Wide Web but who are equipped with an e-mail system. Turnaround is generally in under one hour, however, performance may vary widely and receipt cannot be guaranteed. To get started in using the NWS FTPMAIL service, follow these simple directions to obtain the FTPMAIL "help" file (11 KBytes), or CLICK HERE

  -In plain text format-
Send an e-mail to: ftpmail@ftpmail.nws.noaa.gov
Subject line: Put anything you like
Body: help

An FAQ webpage describing several public and commercial FTP-to-EMAIL and WWW-to-EMAIL servers may be found at: www.faqs.org/faqs/internet-services/access-via-email/

A webpage describing several different e-mail "robots" similar in concept to FTPMAIL, including some with advanced features such as allowing retrieval of NWS marine GRIB files, simple webpages, and allowing products to be retrieved on a scheduled, recurring basis may be found at: http://weather.noaa.gov/pub/fax/robots.txt

Internet Broadcasts
Marine weather data may also be obtained via the Internet using EMWIN . As part of the New NOAA Weather Wire Service, Computer Sciences Corporation broadcasts the entire Weather Wire product stream on the Internet as a commercial service

Watches, Warnings and Advisories Using RSS and XML/CAP Based Formats
The National Weather Service provides access to watches, warnings and advisories for marine and land areas, and for hurricane watches and warnings, via RSS and XML/CAP to aid the automated dissemination of this information. Planning is in progress to better extend these to include all marine warnings.

Directories of NWS Marine Forecasts
For Website developers or other "power" users, many NWS marine text forecast products are available at the following URL's, indexed by WMO header or zone. 

http://weather.noaa.gov/pub/data/forecasts/marine/
ftp://tgftp.nws.noaa.gov/data/forecasts/marine/
http://weather.noaa.gov/pub/data/raw/
ftp://tgftp.nws.noaa.gov/data/raw/
http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/data/Forecasts/
http://weather.noaa.gov/pub/data/
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/data (terminates Mar 12, 2014
http://forecast.weather.gov/product_types.php
http://www.weather.gov/view/validProds.php

Many National Weather Service Weather Charts may be found in the following directories, indexed by WMO ID or other identifier. 

http://weather.noaa.gov/pub/fax/
ftp://tgftp.nws.noaa.gov/fax/

Change Notices
For details on changes to NWS products, visit the Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services Service Change Notifications, the Requirements and Change Management Status page, and NWS Telecommunication Operations Center (TOC) Data Management Change Notices webpages. CLICK HERE for a summary of recent changes of most interest to mariners and coastal residents.
 
 
 



National Weather Service
Office of Climate, Weather, and Water Services
Marine and Coastal Weather Services Branch (W/OS21)
Last modified: Mar 13, 2013
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