Author Topic: Weather Reports Offshore  (Read 260 times)

Offline gmerrill

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Weather Reports Offshore
« on: June 22, 2017, 04:13:38 PM »
I have done some coastal cruising but close enough my cellphone still had a signal and I could get my weather reports from it.  I plan to sail further off the coast and would like to know what is available for weather reports and forecasting.  Is  radio the only other affordable option.

Offline Vectordirector

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Re: Weather Reports Offshore
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2017, 11:38:12 PM »
Don't think many Eclipse owners use the boats that far out, but I could be wrong.  You may try asking in the general forum where some of the bigger boat owners hang out.  I can offer this:

My power cat came with a Furuno Nx-300 weather fax  They run about $500+ new. 

I haven't tried it as I stay inshore within cell phone range.  I assume it works as the surveyor had it working when I bought the boat.   It hooks up to a mushroom antenna on the hardtop and a power cord that splits to NEMA0183 to feed a GPS.  The mount is bolted to my port console.  I'd prefer to leave these mounts on the boat as I'd have to fill some holes if I removed them. 

As I said I don't use it or need it but if you want it and could get the needed cabling, antenna and mount, I would be glad to send it your way if you want to pay for the shipping.  Let me know if you are interested.  If so I can go to the boat and see if I can get it to work and send you a picture.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have but I haven't even plugged it in, and it is pretty old, but it may be all you need.  The next step up would be radar but that is just crazy on an Eclipse. 
Unless you need it.   Not even sure if you could get one on there anywhere and they are expensive, heavy, and power hungry.  Ask some of the local fishermen what they use.  The wealthy ones. 

Weather is always an issue when boating.  I am a NWS/FAA certified weather observer including Doppler Radar.  Part of my training as an air traffic controller.  It comes in very handy when out on the water inshore. 

Storms pop up quickly in the summer and can ruin your whole day.  I can usually see them a long way away as I'm constantly scanning the cloud formations and I stay close to home in the summer.  It usually takes a storm at least 20 minutes to build up which should be enough time to figure out a plan to avoid it or batten down and ride it out.  These summer pop ups are usually pretty small and fairly easy to avoid if you see it soon enough or blow over fairly quickly unless you get blown downwind with it.  The worst ones are the ones that pop up right on top of you but that rarely happens.  Normally they will build over the land due to convection and then start moving further inshore.  Happened today as I was out sailing in northern Charlotte Harbor.  Not always like that though.  The trick is figuring out which way they are moving  early enough to steer away from one early enough to avoid it.  I can see this on my cell phone radar app and have done this a few times in both my sail boat and my cat.  This is the information you will need however you choose to receive it.  I like to keep my boat simple but you will need something for sure for what you want to do.  It will likely be expensive. 

One other thing to keep in mind.  30 years as an ATC taught me that weather forecasts are not often correct.  The further away in the future the worse they are.  They have improved a lot but the best you can hope for is 48 hours in the southern part of the us.  Especially in the summer.  The atmosphere is just too unstable during rainy season and they only get it right about half the time for anything further out than 48 hours.  Keep that in mind when you are off shore.  Marine forecasts come out every 6 hours.  4 times a day.  Keep that in mind as well.  You may want to take a marine weather class if you need some training on cloud formations and other basic weather observation including how to use a doppler radar you can access on the internet.  It really takes the worry out of it if you find it an issue.  I've been here for 3 years and have not got caught in a storm.  I don't push it when it comes to the weather because I have no need to.  It makes the decision easy to make. 

Be Safe, Fair winds,


2005 Eclipse #23

Offline Aldebaran_III

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Re: Weather Reports Offshore
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2017, 07:02:45 PM »
The NX-300 is a Navtex receiver not a weatherfax.
The Navtex system is text only and transmitted on 518 kHz (just below the AM radio band). Generally works pretty good up to about 300 miles from nearest transmitter with longer ranges often possible at night.
The weatherfax system receives scanned images transmitted in the short wave marine bands. Output can be in chart form (as in synoptic charts) or scanned text forecasts. An example receiver would be the Furuno FAX-408.
Both of these modes can also be received with a suitable portable radio interfaced to a laptop with the appropriate software.

If you have a modern chart plotter from Garmin, Raymarine etc. these can be interfaced to a SiriusXM receiver which will allow you to get weather information by satellite on your plotter screen. It's a subscription based service but gets you music channels as well.

There is a list of radio weather sources on this NOAA page if you can plow through the long list of links. has discussions on getting weather info by many different means.

Cheers, Derek