The National Weather Service (NWS) in mid-October made the following changes and adjustments to their marine forecasts:
1. The offshore forecast was changed to allow the extended portion to be a bit less specific (i.e., trend forecasts may be used in lieu of specifics [which at 3 to 5 days are less exact anyway]). Words such as “gales possible, or Hurricane Bessie will impact the area” will still be used when stronger conditions are possible in that three- to five-day period.
This change should still keep mariners informed of the worst conditions while relieving a big workload that was encroaching on the time allotted to prepare weather charts. In the offshore area, mariners are likely to have quite a high level of seamanship skills and so should be able to easily cope with sub-gale conditions.
2. These changes bring NAVTEX forecast length within time limits imposed on NAVTEX products. They will also alert mariners to the worst upcoming events in the upcoming 48-hour period.
Capt. Michael W. Carr
USCG Master Sail & Power