WxLive! Online Seminars

Reading and Interpreting Marine Weather Data

The Weather for Sailors Webinar teaches sailors how to gather and interpret weather information and how to combine that information with their own observations to create a refined forecast; and then how to apply that forecast to their sailing, cruising, and racing.

Gathering the weather information starts with a clear and comprehensive view of various kinds of communications equipment available for both inshore and offshore sailors and will be the focus of Session One. Throughout Session Two, sailors are taught how to access, interpret and use a wide variety of weather forecasting products and tools such as weather maps, satellite imagery, and computer models. The various tools are discussed with an eye towards their limitations as well as their credibility.

Prepared jointly by Bill Biewenga and Lou Roberts and presented through North U, guest speakers will include meteorologists from Commanders' Weather and NOAA's Ocean Prediction Center. The course includes a broad overview of weather and weather systems, and gradually narrows its focus to the local conditions, wind and weather conditions you can expect aboard your boat.

The webinar environment will allow for attendees to ask questions, and the session will be recorded and made available to the attendees for later review. In addition to the webinar and recorded session, a thorough list of resources will be made available to the attendees for further research and review.

Session Descriptions

Session 1 – Onboard Communications

The goal of Session 1 is to help sailors better understand what kind of communications technologies are available and how they compare to each other. This three-hour session will cover a wide variety of communications topics that pertain to coastal as well as offshore sailors. Regardless of whether your sailing takes you across a bay, from the East Coast of the US to Bermuda, or across an ocean or two, the topics covered will include ways to get weather information onboard your vessel. Hosted by Bill Biewenga, guest speakers will discuss radio (SSB and VHF), Satellite Communications (Iridium, Global Star, Older INMARSAT systems, Fleet Broadband and others), Navtex, and Weather Fax options. Speakers will discuss the various types of communications options and choices including pros and cons, costs, speeds, convenience, reliability, etc.

Session 2 – Weather Reading and Interpretation

The goal of this session is to help you better understand the kind of weather you can expect, whether you are reading a weather map, trying to decipher a satellite image or determining the effects of a sea breeze.

Hosted by Bill Biewenga and Lou Roberts, this three-hour session will present world-renowned speakers to discuss the weather features you will see at sea and how to interpret various forecastihng weather products.. Guest speakers will include Ken Campbell from Commanders' Weather and Joe Sienkiewicz from NOAA's Ocean Prediction Center. Together, we will help you make sense of the weather and better understand what to expect from it.

You will participate in interactive case studies using real-world examples of weather maps and forecasting to create boat-specific forecasts – for both racers and cruisers. Exercises will be followed by discussion on how to respond in terms of developing an appropriate weather strategy based on predicted conditions.