Marine Weather Forecasts on the BBC website

About this page

The BBC marine weather pages are a useful resource for use around the UK although they are heavy on download size unless you use the "Printavle" versions. It is then suitable for cell phone use. Particularly useful are the "Coastal forecasts" which are, probably the best meso-scale forecasts available for UK waters.

Summary of the site

The BBC weather site for sailors. Has changed recently (November 2011) and has lost some useful featurtes. There are links to texts of the latest Shipping Forecast and the Inshore Waters forecast broadcast on marine VHF by the Coastguard. There are also forecast charts for the next 5 days in a reasonably quick download and a set of coastal forecasts. There are now no actual reports.

The downside to the site is that downloads are very large for a small amount of information. This is not a problem when ashore but can be costly when using a cell or satellite phone. This page suggests ways around the problem for the cost conscious using a laptop and a mobile phone. It also makes some comments on the service.

Marine Forecasts

This page has the latest

  • Shipping Forecast as broadcast on Radio 4 LW.]]
  • Extended range - 3 to 5 days for sea areas as broadcast on NAVTEX 518 kHz.
  • High Seas forecasts for METAREA I as broadcast by INMARSAT-C. This is a a 24 hour North Atlantic, METAREA I, forecast including a brief 24 hour outlook.
  • Inshore waters forecasts' A little unhelpfully, these are only available as a list. These are as broadcast by the MRCCs around the UK, ie the HMCG VHF broadcasts, are updated four times a day sometime after 0500, 1100, 1700 and 2300 LT.
  • Coastal Forecasts. These are Met Office commissioned weather forecasts for the areas around the UK coast. Detailed weather and sea state forecasts, for the next 24 hours in 4 time periods, are available for 24 sailing areas around the coast. The data are from the Met Office Meso-scale model. They are updated twice daily at 0500 and 1700.LT. There are 24 areas covered around the UK and the Channel Isles. Lengths of coast to which the forecasts refer are, thus, on average about 2/3 of those covered by the Inshore

The text of a forecast will look like

1200 - 1800 Pressure - 1020 mb F Temp max/min - 7/3 degrees C Wind speed - F4-5 becoming F3-5 Wind direction - N Max gust in knots - 30 becoming 31 Sea state - Slight becoming Wavelets Visibility - Very good There the follows Sig(nificant) weather in a symbol format.


These are "heavy" pages to download. If bandwidth is limited, then try using the Saildocs Text retrieval service. Send an email to the message should say send html//...................... Within about 60 seconds an email will arrive containing all the text off the page.

Fore axample, for the forecast for Selsey Bill to Lyme Regis the message would be send