Marine Weather Forecasts by Email and FTP

About this page

Details of some of the sources of marine weather forecasts obtainable via compressed emails and FTP.


Email or File Transfer Protocol (FTP) are cost effective ways of getting information while away on the boat. They do not require broad band Internet access and avoid using web browsers with annoyingly irrelevant pictures, adverts and ornamental features.

They can be used with low bandwidth when marina WiFi is slow or you are using a satellite phone. They can be used with GPRS over a cell phone.. Email is the only Internet facility for Blue water sailors using HF/SSB with a modem.

On this page -

File Transfer Protocol

Basically, FTP extracts digital or image data from service providers and translates them into a compressed digital form. These data can be transferred directly from computer to computer without using a browser. Often easier for sailors is to get the FTP data as email attachments.

The US NWS has an FTPMail service. Although simple to use, the volume of instructions and introductory material is daunting. Other services build on this in a rather more user friendly manner.

Some of these services are described briefly here.

Saildocs Texts of Web pages

Saildocs] is a free-to-all text retrieval service provided by SailMail. To use, send an email to .
Subject - anything.
The message should read
send http://www.xxxxxxx.
Simply copy the address of a web page containing the forecast or page text that you want. These can be taken from one of my Internet pages e.g. NW Europe and copying the address..

As an example, a message saying
will provide all the text for the UK Inshore waters forecast.

Within a minute or so the reply email will contain all the text of the web page stripped of all the extraneous information. Met Office pages are commendably small downloads, but the text on most Webpages can be received as an attachment less than 4 kb.;

Several pages can be requested at a time. This will work with many Webpages, not just marine weather forecasts.


MailASail GRIB, Text and Chart Responder

This is a comprehensive r free service is provided by MailASail by way of advertising their compressed email service.

The MailASail Weather Responder service has three components.

GRIB Files

GRIB files can be obtained from many sources using FTP or email.


An excellent free-to-all service is

This works on laptops under Windws and Linux. Notes on its use can be found on my GRIB pages, XyGrib

There are other services available on repayment but XyGrib will meet most cruising sailors’ needs.

There are several similar packages that work on Tablets see my GRIB Apps page.

By Email

Two well known email GRIB services are

This is the most flexible to use.

This is easier to use nut has fewer options.

For descriptions of GRIB and details of how to access these services go to my GRIB page.

'The Yachtcom site has much good advice on marine radio for those using HF radio to receive emails.

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