...Weather Safety for Mariners...
written by NWS Houston/Galveston


AS THE SUN RISES HIGH IN THE SKY...THE TROPICAL WATERS AND THE 
ATMOSPHERE BECOME ACTIVE BY ABSORBING MORE HEAT ENERGY. THIS STARTS 
THE RECIPE FOR THUNDERSTORM AND HURRICANE PRODUCTION. KNOWING WHAT 
SIGNS TO LOOK FOR AND WHERE TO FIND MARINE WEATHER ADVISORIES AND 
WARNINGS COULD MAKE YOUR TIME SPENT ON THE WATER MUCH MORE ENJOYABLE.
 
WHEN SPRING AND SUMMER COMES AROUND...OUTSIDE BOATING AND FISHING 
ACTIVITIES INCREASE. THE FREQUENCY OF THUNDERSTORMS AND TROPICAL 
CYCLONES INCREASE AS WELL. BOATERS ARE CAUGHT OFF GUARD TOO 
FREQUENTLY WHEN STORMS ROLL OVER THE HORIZON. USUALLY WHEN YOU 
OBSERVE DARK FAST MOVING CLOUDS HEADED YOUR WAY...IT IS TOO LATE TO 
HEAD FOR A SAFE LOCATION IF YOU ARE ON THE OPEN WATER. HAVING 
KNOWLEDGE OF THE LARGER WEATHER PICTURE AND KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT TO 
DO WHEN THESE SUDDEN STORMS APPEAR COULD HELP YOU ENJOY A SAFER AND 
MORE PLEASANT JOURNEY.
 
FORTUNATELY...BOATS EQUIPPED WITH NOAA WEATHER RADIOS WILL BE ABLE TO 
TUNE INTO THE SPECIAL MARINE WARNINGS AND MARINE WEATHER STATEMENTS 
BEING ISSUED BY THE LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE. THESE 
STATEMENTS WILL GIVE YOU INSTRUCTIONS ON WHERE THE STORMS ARE HEADING 
AND HOW SEVERE THEY ARE EXPECTED TO BE. IF YOUR VESSEL IS NOT 
EQUIPPED WITH NOAA WEATHER RADIOS...GET MARINE WEATHER INFORMATION 
FROM YOUR LOCAL NEWS MEDIA AND TRUSTED WEB SITES ON THE INTERNET. 

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS AN EXPLANATION OF THE TYPE OF STATEMENTS 
AND WARNINGS YOU CAN EXPECT TO HEAR FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER 
SERVICE: 

- SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY: TO ALERT BOATERS OF OBSERVED OR FORECAST 
SUSTAINED WINDS OF 20 TO 33 KNOTS AND OR SEAS 7 FEET OR HIGHER. 
- GALE WARNING: FORECAST WINDS OF 34 TO 47 KNOTS. 
- STORM WARNING: FORECAST WINDS OF 48 KNOTS OR GREATER NOT ASSOCIATED 
WITH TROPICAL ACTIVITY. 
- TROPICAL STORM WATCH: TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS WITH SUSTAINED 
WINDS FROM 34 TO 63 KNOTS ARE POSSIBLE IN THE WATCH AREA WITHIN THE 
NEXT 36 HOURS.             
- TROPICAL STORM WARNING: TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED IN 
THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
- HURRICANE WATCH: HURRICANE CONDITIONS (SUSTAINED WINDS GREATER THAN 
64 KNOTS) ARE POSSIBLE IN THE WATCH AREA WITHIN 36 HOURS.
- HURRICANE WARNING: HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED IN THE WARNING 
AREA IN 24 HOURS OR LESS.
- SPECIAL MARINE WARNING: ISSUED WHENEVER A SEVERE LOCAL STORM OR 
STRONG WIND OF BRIEF DURATION IS IMMINENT AND IS NOT COVERED BY 
EXISTING WARNINGS OR ADVISORIES. 
- MARINE WEATHER STATEMENTS: ISSUED AS A FOLLOW UP TO A SPECIAL 
MARINE WARNING OR TO PROVIDE INFORMATION ON NON-SEVERE INFORMATION 
SUCH AS FOG.   
  
BOATERS WILL BE ABLE TO RECEIVE THESE STATEMENTS AND WARNINGS BY 
KEEPING TUNED TO A NOAA WEATHER STATION OR TO COAST GUARD AND 
COMMERCIAL RADIO STATIONS THAT TRANSMIT MARINE WEATHER INFORMATION. 

KNOWING THE LARGER WEATHER PICTURE BEFORE VENTURING OUT INTO THE OPEN 
WATERS COULD SAVE NOT ONLY AGGRAVATION...BUT YOUR LIFE AS WELL. GET 
TO KNOW THE MARINE WEATHER SERVICES PROVIDED TO YOU IN YOUR AREA AND 
CHART A COURSE TOWARD BOATING SAFETY. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WEATHER SAFETY FOR MARINERS...CALL YOUR LOCAL 
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE...OR VISIT THEM ON THE INTERNET AT
WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV

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