Tasmanian-based Laurence Burgin knows more about messing around in boats than most and his seminars are highly valued by his many past attendees. Here he talks about those extra weather services that can raise your chances of knowing what the weather is to be and, hence, improve your safety.
With the modern meteorological services available online there is no reason not to have a reasonable idea of what weather you will encounter in your sailing or boating adventure up to a week ahead.
By watching several information sources side by side you can round out your knowledge. I have found these various forecasting services extremely reliable and helpful.
For long passages it is possible to employ a weather and route planning service, and these companies can crunch all available data to give you the best possible departure times and routes.
Sea surface temperature models show the speed and direction of ocean currents.
Bluelink is a great website for seeing this, and it gives you a four day hind-cast.
This is particularly useful when passaging north and south between the east coast of Australia and down to Tasmania.
Up to three knots current can be avoided or exploited by using this information effectively.
Some services have very localised predictions that can give you wind speed and direction in your local river or bay.
Some of my personal favourites are Stormsurfing and MetEye.
Stormsurfing provides 7 Day Wind Speed and Direction Forecasts Stormsurf Provides 7 Day Wind Speed and Direction Forecasts
I have found these services to be the most accurate services that receive frequent updates.
Indian Ocean Forecasts:
Looking at the http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=sindi_slp!Indian_Ocean_forecasts you can see what weather systems are on the way.
For local tides, I like to use WillyWeather as it is accurate, simple and also receives regular and revised updates when necessary.
With all of these great services free and available to everyone, there is no excuse for getting stuck in bad weather while out at sea.
About Laurence Burgin and Tasmania-based Franklin Marine:
Franklin Marine -Chandlery, recreational and commercial fishing supplies and much more.
We are a passionate team of chandlers, fishermen, designers, shipwrights, marine welders, electricians and engineers committed to supplying and creating high quality custom marine fittings and fishing gear. With our extensive experience at sea, and building with power and sail, commercial tuna fishing, recreational fishing and other marine exploits. We apply this knowledge to make sure the parts we stock look great and work great. We are a one-stop shop for all your maritime needs.