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National Weather Service Marine Forecasts
Voluntary Observations from Mariners
MAROB Program

MAROB Program

All Information with Respect to the MAROB Program Are Preliminary and Subject to Revision

The MAROB Program is an experimental voluntary marine observation program of the National Weather Service in the early stages of development. It seeks the participation of all mariners, both commercial and recreational, which are not part of the more in-depth VOS program. It is the goal of the program to collect as many marine observations as practicable, to improve the accuracy of coastal, offshore and high seas forecasts, by taking advantage of technological advancements in marine communications and the proliferation of the Internet.

MAROB observations will be in coded form which can be better ingested, distributed and displayed by forecasters than observations in plain language. The MAROB report format will be identical to coded reports of the Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) Program, with the exception that "MAROB" will replace "BBXX". The MAROB program will differ from the VOS Program in at least several other aspects: Although MAROBs will be used by forecasters in forecast decision process, these data will likely not be used directly by computer models; Any communications charges and the cost of any observing equipment will not be reimbursed by the Weather Service; The observation elements collected will typically be a subset of those collected in the full VOS report.

The National Weather Service is in the process of developing cooperative arrangements with organizations such as the United States Power Squadrons, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the WinLink 2000 Global Radio Network, the Maritime Mobile Service Network, CruiseEmail.com, Ocens, Sailmail, SkyMate, MarineNet Wireless, and the YOTREP Reporting System, to both train observers and forward observations to NWS. Technologies utilized may include cellular telephone, HF Marine radio, MF Marine radio, VHF Marine Radio, Ham Radio, Webforms and e-mail.

In several cases, MAROB reporting schemes will work in conjunction with vessel position reporting systems such as WinLink's Position Reporter, the Maritime Mobile Service Network's ShipTrak, and the YOTREPs Reporter, to enhance the safety of mariners.

At present, mariners may participate in the MAROB program in any of several ways:

1. By sending in YOTREPs (pronounced Yacht Reps) using Pangolin's YOTREP Offshore Reporter software. This function may be performed directly aboard the vessel or the observation data forwarded to a volunteer ashore. YOTREPs are converted to the MAROB format and forwarded to the National Weather Service by Pangolin Software. For documentation on sending YOTREPS/MAROBs using YOTREP Offshore Reporter CLICK HERE

2. By sending in YOTREPs via WinLink 2000 Global Radio Network, or Sailmail using their AIRMAIL software. AIRMAIL will be upgraded in the near future for greater compatibility with MAROB.

3. By entering the observed data into Pangolinís freeware program PANMAROB.EXE and sending the encoded data to the National Weather Service via e-mail. This function may be performed directly aboard the vessel or the observation data forwarded to a volunteer ashore. For documentation on sending MAROBs using PANMAROB.exe CLICK HERE

4. By sending in YOTREPS via e-mail in the WINLINK/AIRMAIL format style. This function may be performed directly aboard the vessel or the observation data forwarded to a volunteer ashore. YOTREPs are converted to the MAROB format and forwarded to the National Weather Service by Pangolin Software see www.pangolin.co.nz For documentation on sending YOTREPS/MAROBS via e-mail in the WINLINK/AIRMAIL format CLICK HERE

5. For the real "power user", by entering the observation data into the AMVER/SEAS software (see http://www.vos.noaa.gov/) of the Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) program and sending the encoded data to the National Weather Service via e-mail. This option is only recommended for those familiar with the VOS program. Save the observation data using the Transmit/Save ASCII function to the met.txt file, and copy/paste the applicable data into an e-mail of a format described in the procedure for sending MAROBs via PANMAROB.exe above. This function may be performed directly aboard the vessel or the observation data forwarded to a volunteer ashore.

6. By manually encoding the observation data following the guidance of the NWS Observing Handbook No 1 (www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/handbk1.pdf), and sending the encoded data to the National Weather Service via e-mail in the format described in the procedure for sending MAROBs via PANMAROB.exe above. . This option is only recommended for those familiar with the VOS program. This function may be performed directly aboard the vessel or the observation data forwarded to a volunteer ashore.

7. Using WINLINKís QTH Reporter restricted webpage which is intended for the net control operators of large maritime mobile ham nets. Send an e-mail to http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/marine/feedback.htm for further information. For documentation on sending MAROBs using QTh Reporter CLICK HERE

Note: Any reference to a commercial product or service does not imply any endorsement by the National Weather Service as to function or suitability for your purpose or environment.

Other voluntary marine observation programs of the National Weather Service



National Weather Service
Office of Climate, Weather, and Water Services
Marine and Coastal Weather Services Branch (W/OS21)
Last modified: Dec 31, 2007
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