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Marine Forecast Offices and Centers Marine Forecast Offices & Centers provide links to their products as well as additional regionally focused information. Click on map for links.

Beware of hypothermia during these cooler months. Did you know your body can cool 25 times faster in water than in air? That water does not need to be very cold to endanger you?

What is a "Marine Zone Forecast"?
What is a "Marine Point Forecast"?

How can I get a marine forecast via zip, city, or lat/lon?

Did you know that the height of some individual waves may be twice the height of the forecast seas? And may present an even greater danger near shore or any shallow waters?



In February 1999, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) became the primary international means for disseminating Maritime Safety Information (MSI) to mariners. The goals of the GMDSS are to provide more effective and efficient emergency and safety communications and disseminate MSI to all ships on the world's oceans regardless of location or atmospheric conditions. MSI includes navigational warnings, meteorological warnings and forecasts, and other urgent safety related information. GMDSS goals are defined in the International Convention for the The Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) and affects vessels over 300 gross tons and passenger vessels of any size.

The National Weather Service participates directly in the GMDSS by preparing meteorological forecasts and warnings for broadcast via NAVTEX, HF Narrow Band Direct Printing (NBDP) and SafetyNET.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has developed a GMDSS Webpage which, as a first step, provides links to worldwide meteorological bulletins and warnings issued for the high seas via SafetyNet. Click here for a transmission schedule for full GMDSS Service.

The NWS also offers other international communication services which provide weather, water and climate information to segments of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) International community.

The U.S. Coast Guard Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 3-99 on GMDSS and EPIRB Equipment Requirements on Commercial Vessels is available in Acrobat (PDF) format.  It replaces NVIC 9-93.

Operation of a shipboard radio installation requires a license and is regulated by the FCC. The exception to this is  the Telecommunications Act of 1996 permits recreational boaters to have and use a VHF marine radio.  For further information, see the FCC's Wireless Telecommunication Bureau's Maritime Mobile Service Webpage. Licensing is not normally required when receiving only.  Learn more about GMDSS and other marine communication systems by visiting the U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Telecommunications Information webpage.

Under GMDSS regulations, reception of MSI is mandatory.

"While at sea, vessels must maintain radio watches for broadcasts of maritime safety information on the appropriate frequency or frequencies on which such information is broadcast for the area in which the ship is navigating." 47 CFR 80.1123(b).

Waivers for inoperative GMDSS equipment which can not be repaired prior to scheduled sailing should be requested of the FCC by phone or email to Ghassan Khalek (202-418-2771,, 202-418-2643(fax)) identifying other systems available, planned repair date, duration of next voyage, destination etc.

Also under U.S. GMDSS regulations,

"Ships must carry the most recent version edition of the IMO publication entitled GMDSS Master Plan of Shore Based Facilities". 47 CFR 80.1085(ii)(d). This document is available from the IMO. The FCC allows NGA Publication 117 to be carried as an alternative to the GMDSS Master Plan.

Refer to NGA Publication 117, which is updated through the Notice to Mariners, for the latest official listing of  NAVTEX and SafetyNET broadcast schedules. The British Admiralty List of Radio Signals is an excellent reference source for GMDSS information.

All NWS marine forecasts rely heavily on the Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) program for obtaining meteorological observations.

National Weather Service
Analyze, Forecast, and Support Office
Marine, Tropical, and Tsunami Services Branch (W/AFS26)
Last modified: Apr 02, 2015
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