NAVTEX Weather Broadcasts for Europe & the Mediterranean

About this page

Schedules and contents of NAVTEX broadcasts from European stations.

Preamble

NAVTEX is the primary method for broadcasting Marine Safety Information (MSI) as part of the GMDSS. It should be used on all vessels going beyond 30 miles offshore. Terms used in marine forecasts are on another page of this site, see also the page on Sea areas in METAREAS I. II and III.


Related pages

On this page -

Background

To quote the UK Coastguard brochure, NAVTEX is the prime method of disseminating full MSI (Marine Safety Information) including weather forecasts and warnings. As a component of the GMDSS. NAVTEX is intended to be used "from the fairway buoy to about 250 Nautical miles offshore". The main characteristics of NAVTEX for this purpose are that stations broadcast

  1. in English,
  2. in 10 minute slots, in succession within a METAREA, in alphabetical order of the station indicator letters.
  3. using a common frequency of 518 kHz..

IMO requires each NAVTEX station

  1. to have a GUARANTEED range of 250 NM - however, many achieve 400 NM - with transmission power of 1 kW by day and 300 W by night.
  2. to provide forecasts covering that 250 nautical mile radius.

Reception is intended to be automatic and the text readable in paper or soft copy, on-screen form. At sea, this is one of the main methods of receiving weather forecasts.

MCA guidance is that all pleasure and other small craft sailing around the coast or going offshore should have NAVTEX. Under the SOLAS convention, NAVTEX is compulsory on all vessels over 300 GRT and certain other, eg training vessels.

A useful layman's description of the NAVTEX system can be found at Martin Stubbs' site.

An easily accessible and very useful list of NAVTEX stations that will meet most needs is at the ICS site. For an exhaustive list of all NAVTEX stations and schedules, go to William Hepburn's site. METAREAs are shown on the INMARSAT Coverage Map. Sea Area boundaries around western Europe are at my page METAREAs I, II and III or Martin Stubbs' site go to his FAQ page.

SmartMET provides the NAVTEX transmission database, viewable as a chart or as a list, as well as information on PC Navtex, many useful hints and tips about NAVTEX, and links to where you can find many of the navigation warnings and weather forecasts on the web.

Dedicated set, "NAVTEX Engine", or radio input to computer?

Because NAVTEX is intended for unattended operation, the dedicated set is, to my mind, the optimum. There are some devices on the market that are designed to feed the signal to a computer and/or store the information for later viewing.

Use of a computer is fine if you have a built in marinised computer such as I have seen on blue water yachts. Most of us are not in that category and have laptops which do not like being bounced around in a rough sea and hate getting wet. The need to be able to view messages as and when received makes the engine not a good idea for the ordinary coastal sailor.

The SmarMET PC Navtex is a good compromise in that it can interface your computer to your NAVTEX receiver (or engine) bringing NAVTERX messages onto the PC. The software lets you filter and sort messages by subject and transmitting station, view and print messages and message logs, delete duplicates and purge old messages.

It also includes details of NAVTEX transmitting stations and schedules. It is a significant advance on programs that interface to a general radio receiver.

.

NAVTEX Weather Broadcasts

Some leisure sailors complain of reception. See my personal experiences of problems with NAVTEX.

In my personal opinion, cruising yachts require, as a minimum, short period, reasonably detailed inshore forecasts, short period open sea forecasts and outlook forecasts for up to 5 day ahead.

Around the British Isles NAVTEX weather broadcasts meets these needs in several ways.

  • Shipping Forecasts on NAVTEX have a brief 24 hour outlook.
  • An outlook forecast for a further three days is broadcast once a day from Niton, Portpatrick and Cullercoats. Each broadcast relates to the area covered by that aerial
  • The secondary NAVTEX frequency - 490 kHz - intended for local use such as broadcasts in the national language - has been used to broadcast Inshore Waters Forecasts
  • Valentia (SW Ireland), Malin Head (NW Ireland) and Rögaland (Norway) each broadcast forecasts for parts of the UK Shipping Forecast sea areas. This reducing the size of the weather broadcast from the three UK NAVTEX stations (Niton, Portpatrick and Cullercoats).

Texts of NAVTEX messages

In poor reception conditions there may be numbers in place of letters or vice versa. These may well be the same as occur with RTTY which, like NAVTEX, was originally a teleprinter keyboard. I have put some NAVTEX text decodeson another page.

The BBC weather site has texts of all UK NAVTEX broadcasts.

For NAVTEX messages received from various sites around the world, try http://www.frisnit.com/cgi-bin/navtex/view.cgi. The system obtains the information from a network of shortwave receivers and PCs running decoder

software. Messages for the UK and Eastern Mediterranean are reliably available. The messages are uploaded to the site automatically, as soon as they are received from the NAVTEX transmitters. Typically the delay is less than 10 seconds.

A better site for looking at western European NAVTEX transmissions is http://olivecottage.homeip.net/ This has some AIS information as well. Also see the DWD site that has texts of 490 transmissions as well.

Current Situation

The table summarises the availability of routine weather information on NAVTEX around Western Europe. Gale warnings should be broadcast as soon as transmissions allow and then at each 4 hour broadcast while the warning is in force.

METAREA XIX and XX – Arctic waters

Station

kHz

Times (UTC

Content

Sea Areas

Arkhangel'sk (L)

518

N/A

N/A

N/A

Murmansk (K)

518

N/A

N/A

N?A

Svalbard (A)

518

0000/1200

24 hour forecast

Norwegian Sea Areas

Bodo (B)

518

0010/1210

.24 hour forecast

.Norwegian Sea Areas


METAREA I – UK Waters and NE Atlantic

Station

kHz

Times (UTC

Content

Sea Areas

Reykjavik (R)

518

0650, 1050/ 1850. 2250

Storm warnings, synopsis and 24 hour forecast in English

Icelandic Sea Areas 1-9

Reykjavik (X)

518

Every 4 hours from 0350

24 hour forecast.

.Greenland East Coast

Reykjavik (R)

490

Every 4 hours from 0320

Storm warnings, synopsis and 24 hour forecast In Icelandic

Icelandic Sea Areas 1-9

Ørlandet (N)

518

0210/1410

.24 hour forecast

.Norwegian Sea Areas

Torshavn (D)

518

4-hourly from 0030

Forecasts for next 24 hours

Rögaland (L)

518

0950/2150

Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours and brief outlook

North Utsire, South Utsire, Fisher and German Bight

Vardo (C)

518

0820/2020

..24 hour forecast

.Kattegat and Skagerrak

Hamburg (S)

518

4-hourly from 0300

Forecasts and warnings

German Bight

Hamburg (L)

490

0550/2150

Warnings and forecasts

German North Sea Coasts

1350

Warnings

Oostende (T)

518

0710/1910

24 hour forecast

Coasts of Belgium and those of Sea Areas Thames and Dover

Ijmuiden (P)

518

Every 4 hours from 0230

Warning Summary Sea Area Forecasts for next 12 hours and 12 hour outlook

Thames, Humber, German Bight, Dogger

Niton (E) See Note 1

518

0840/2040

Warning Summary, Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours and brief outlook

Thames, Dover, Wight, Portland, Plymouth, Biscay, Fitzroy, Sole, Lundy and Fastnet

0040

Extended Outlook

Thames, Dover, Wight, Portland, Plymouth, Biscay, Sole, Lundy, Fastnet.

Niton (I)

490

0120/0520
1320/1720

Inshore Waters Forecast and 24 hour Outlook

From Gibraltar Point to St David' Head, Channel islands. See my HMCG page

0920/2120

Latest actual weather reports

Southern coasts and Channel

Niton (T)

490

0710/1910

Warning summary and Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours and a brief outlook (in French)

Humber, Tamise, Pas-de-Calais and Antifer

Portpatrick (O)

518

0620/1820

Warning Summary, Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours and brief outlook

Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea, Rockall, Malin, Hebrides, Bailey, Fair Isle, Faeroes and S E Iceland

0220

Extended Outlook

Lundy, Fastnet, Irish sea, Rockall, Malin, Hebrides, Bailey, Fair Isle, Faeroes and S E Iceland

Portpatrick (C)

490

0020/0820
1220/2020

Inshore Waters Forecast and 24 hour Outlook

Land's End to Cape Wrath, the Minch, Lough Foyle to Carlingford Lough. See my HMCG page.

0420/1620

Latest actual weather reports

Western coasts and Irish Sea

Cullercoats (G)

518

0900/2100

Warning Summary, Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours and brief outlook

Viking, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Humber, Thames, Fair Isle

0100

Extended Outlook

Fair Isle, Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, Humber, Thames, Dover, and Wight.

Cullercoats (U)

490

0720/1120
1920/2320

Inshore Waters Forecast and 24 hour Outlook

Cape Wrath to N Foreland, Shetland Islea. See my HMCG page.

0320/1529

Latest actual weather reports

Actual reports for the East coasts of the UK

Valentia (W)

518

0740/1940

24 hour forecasts, outlooks and buoy reports

Irish coastal areas

1140 and 2340

High Seas Bulletin

East Central sections of METAREA I

Malin Head (Q)

518

0640/1840

Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours and brief outlook.

Shannon, Rockall, Malin, Hebrides and Bailey

24 hour forecasts, outlooks and buoy reports

Irish coastal areas

1040/2240

High Seas Bulletin

East Northern and East Central sections of METAREA I

Malin Head (A)

490

0000/0400/0800
1200/1600/2000
Actuals as Portpatrick

Inshore Waters Forecast and 24 hour Outlook

Lough Foyle to Carlingford Lough, Mull of Galloway to Mull of Kintyre including the Firth of Clyde and North Channel, Mull of Kintyre to Ardnamurchan Point, The Minch, Ardnamurchan Point to Cape Wrath, Isle of Man

METAREA I – Baltic subarea

Station

kHz

Times (UTC

Content

Sea Areas

Jeloya

 (M)

518

0200/1400

N/A

Skagerrak and surrounding areas

Stockholm (Bjuröklubb) (H)

518

0910/1310/1710/2110

Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours

 Baltic Sea Areas 1-15

Stockholm (Gislovshammar ) (J)

518

0930/1330/1730/2130

Stockholm (Grimeton) (I)

518

0830.1230/1630/2030

Tallinn (U)

518

0720/1120/1520/1920

Hamburg (L)

490

0150/1750

Warnings and forecasts

German Baltic coasts

0950

Warnings

METAREA II - Waters to the West of France, Iberia and N Africa, including the Azores

Station

kHz

Times (UTC

Content

Sea Areas

Corsen (A)

518

0000/1200

Warning summary and Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours and a brief outlook

Iroise, Yeu, Rochebonne, Cantabrico, Finisterre and Pazenn

Corsen (E)

490

0840/2040

Warning summary and Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours and a brief outlook (in French)

Casquets, Ouessant, Iroise, Yeu, Rochebonne, Cantabrico, Finisterre, Pazenn, Sole, Shannon, .Fastnet, Lundy and Irish Sea

la Coruña (D)

518

0830/2030

Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours

Gran Sol, Pazenn, Iroise, Yeu, Rochebonne, Altair, Charcot, Finisterre, Cantabrico, Azores, Josephine, Porto, Sao Vincente, Cadiz, Estrecho, Madeira, Casablanca and Agadir See Note 2

la Coruña (W)

490

1140/1940

Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours (in Spanish)

Gran Sol, Pazenn, Iroise, Yeu, Rochebonne, Altair, Charcot, Finisterre, Cantabrico, Azores, Josephine, Porto, Sao Vincente, Cadiz, Estrecho, Madeira, Casablanca and Agadir

See Note 2

Monsanto (R)

See Note 3

518

0550/1750

Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours

Charcot, Josephine, Finisterre, Porto, Sao Vincente and Cadiz

Monsanto (R)

518

0550/1750

Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours

Madeira, Casablanca, Agadir

Monsanto (G)

See Note 3

490

0500/1700

.Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours (In Portuguese)

Madeira, Casablanca, Agadir

Monsanto (G)

490

0500/1700

.Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours (In Portuguese)

.Charcot, Josephine, Finisterre, Porto, Sao Vincente and Cadiz

Porto Santo (Madeira) (P)

518

Every 4 hours from 0230 (Planned)

Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours

Madeira, Casablanca, Agadir

Porto Santo (M)

490

Every 4 hours from 0100 (Planned)

.

.

Horta (Azores) (F)

518

Every 4 hours from 0050

Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours

Altair, Azores, Irving, Milne, Marsala

See Note 4

Las Palmas, (Canary Is) (I)

518

0920, 1320, 1720

Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours

Probably - Madeira, Casablanca, Agadir, Tarfaya, Canarias, Cap Blanc and Cap Timiris.

Tarifa (G)

518

0900/2100

Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours (in English and Spanish)

Sao Vicente, Cadiz, Casablanca, Agadir, Gibraltar Strait/Estrecho, Alborán, Palos, Argelia.

METAREA III - Western Mediterranean

Station

kHz

Times (UTC

Content

Sea Areas

Cabo la Naõ (X)

518

0750/1950

Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours

Alborán, Palos, Argelia, Cabrera, Baleares, Menorca, Leon, Provenza, Liguria, Corcega, Cerdeña, Annaba.

la Garde

(W)

518

1140/2340

Warning summary and Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours and a brief outlook

Lion, Provence, Ligure, Elbe, Corse, Maddalena, Sardaigne, Minorque, Baléares, Est Cabrera

la Garde (S)

490

0700/1900

Warning summary and Sea Area Forecasts for next 24 hours and a brief outlook (in French)

Lion, Provence, Ligure, Elbe, Corse, Maddalena, Sardaigne, Minorque, Baléares, Est Cabrera:

La Maddelena (R)

518

0650/1850

24 hour forecast/12 hour Outlook. Followed by 4 12 hour brief outlooks

Ligurian & Tyrrenhian Seas

La Maddelena (I)

490

0920/ 2120

24 hour forecast/12 hour Outlook. Followed by 4 12 hour brief outlooks.
In Italian

Ligurian & Tyrrenhian Seas

Kelibia (Tunisia) (T)

518

0710/1910

As La Maddelena

Sardinian Channel, Sardinian Sea, Corsican Sea.
NOTE Not operational as at 31 July. 2013

Sellia Marina (V)

518

0730/1930

As La Maddelena

Ionian sea

Sellia Marina (W)

490

0740,/1940

As La Maddelena
In Italian

Ionian sea

Malta (O)

518

0620/1820

24 hour forecast

50 miles around Malta.

Eastern Mediterranean, Adriatic and Aegean

Station

kHz

Times (UTC

Content

Sea Areas

Mondolfo (U)

518

0720/1920

As La Maddelena

Adriatic

Mondolfo (E)

490

0840/ 2040

As La Maddelena
In Italian

Adriatic

Split (Q)

518

Every 4 hours from 0240

12 hour forecast and 12 hour outlook, Updated always at 0640/1840 and sometimes at 1040 and, 1440.

Adriatic .

Kerkyra (K)

518

0540/0940 1740/2140

.24 hour forecast and 12 hour outlook

South Adriatic, North Ionia, South Ionio, Patraikos, Korinthiakos, Kithira sea

Iraklion (Crete) (H)

518

0510/0910 1710/2110

.24 hour forecast and 12 hour outlook

.

Limnos (L)

518

0550/0950 1750/2150

.24 hour forecast and 12 hour outlook

.

Haifa (P)

518

Every 4 hours from 0020

.

.

Black Sea

For historical reasons the Black Sea stations do not conform with the normal alphabetical broadcasting sequence. This will be resolved in the fullness of time.

Istanbul (D)

518

Every 4 hours from 0030

.

.

Mariupol (B)

518

0500/1300

.

.

Odessa (C)

518

1030/1830

.

.

Varna (J)

518

0530/1730

.

.

NOTES

General Notes

  • Forecast areas are on my METAREAs I, II and III page. See also the Météo-France le guide marine site.and Martin Stubbs' FAQ.
  • Extended Outlooks on UK NAVTEX broadcasts (only) cover the three days beyond the latest 24 hour outlook. So, for example, the outlook issued on the night of Monday/Tuesday is for the period Wednesday, Thursday and Friday..
  • Warnings will be broadcast as soon as possible and repeated every 4 hours
  • UK Warning summaries will EITHER list areas with a gale warning in force, list warnings by reference number OR say WARNINGS: NIL.
  • UK Brief outlooks will not exceed 30 words, so will be brief and to the point. If no hazards are expected this is usually stated.
  • Station Identification letters for 490 kHz transmissions differ from those for 518 kHz.
  • Warnings on UK 490 kHz. are only broadcast if there is a significant change to the Inshore Waters Forecast which could result in problems for small craft.

Specific Notes

  • Note 1 Niton (K) on 518 kHz does not include any forecasts.
  • Note 2 Gran Sol is, effectively, a large area comprising Plymouth, Lundy, Fastnet and E Sole.
  • Note 3 Monsanto broadcasts two separete NAVTEX messages in the same time slot
  • Note 4 Marsala is the mid-Atlantic area immediately south of Milne, Same longitude co-ords as Milne and southern boundary 30 deg N.

The Future

Considered user reaction and comment are always useful.. The MCA is very clearly a lead player and is up to the MCA to ensure that Met Office provides the information that meets the user need. For more general matters concerned with NAVTEX eg quality of reception then please contact Guy Bealeat the UKHO, Taunton. Guy is the Secretary IMO NAVTEX Co-ordinating Panel BUT, first, see my NAVTEX Problems page.

Links to texts of broadcasts under GMDSS, including NAVTEX can be found on another page of this site.

NAVTEX Abbreviations

In order to minimise the length of NAVTEX weather transmissions, there is a set of recommended abbreviations set out below.

North (erly)

N

Northeast(erly)

NE

East(erly)

E

Southeast(erly)

SE

South(erly)

S

Southwest(erly)

SW

West(erly)

W

Northwest(erly)

NW

Backing

BACK

Becoming

BECMG

Building

BLDN

Cold Front

C-FRONT / CFNT

Decreasing

DECR

Deepening

DPN

Expected

EXP

Forecast

FCST

Filling

FLN

Following

FLW

From

FM

Frequent/Frequency

FRQ

HectoPascal

HPA

Heavy

HVY

Improving/Improve

IMPR

Increasing

INCR

Intensifying/Intensify

INTSF

Isolated

ISOL

Km/h

KMH

Knots

KT

Latitude/Longitude

LAT/LONG

Locally

LOC

Metres

M

Meteo…

MET

Moderate

MOD

Moving/Move

MOV or MVG

No change

NC

Nautical miles

NM

No significant change

NOSIG

Next

NXT

Occasionally

OCNL

Occlusion Front

O-FRONT / OFNT

Possible

POSS

Probability/Probable

PROB

Quickly

QCKY

Quasi-Stationary

QSTNR

Quadrant

QUAD

Rapidly

RPDY

Scattered

SCT

Severe

SEV / SVR

Showers

SHWRS / SH

Significant

SIG

Slight

SLGT or SLT

Slowly

SLWY

Stationary

STNR

Strong

STRG

Temporarily/Temporary

TEMPO

Further outlooks

TEND

Veering

VEER

Visibility

VIS

Variable

VRB

Warm Front

W-FRONT / WFNT


Home