Mediterranean Marine Weather Services

About this page

Getting weather information in the Mediterranean; largely based on personal experience. The page will be updated from time to time on the basis of my experience and information from others.

Cruising Association

Related sites

On this page -

Introduction

I never cease to be amazed when I meet yachtsmen who have sailed all round Spain from the Portuguese border to Barcelona and have never heard an English forecast on VHF. I can only imagine that they have read and believed some of the older Pilot books that we had on Anhinga in 2000 on our way to the Mediterranean..

This page is based on personal experience supplemented by my erstwhile professional knowledge, talking to sailors, reference to the Spanish Met Service web site, the Livre de Bord and le Guide Marine de Météo France. See links to these on my GMDSS page. There are a surprisingly large number of sources of Mediterranean broadcasts in English. Others are in easy to understand French and Spanish.

This page is neither exhaustive nor definitive and I would be pleased to hear of other sources of useful weather information.

Texts of GMDSS weather forecasts can be received in six ways and it is prudent to be conversant with at least three;

  • by VHF and NAVTEX, which all yachts should carry;
  • by HF/SSB and INMARSAT-C, which relatively few will carry;
  • by the Internet, which is being used increasingly by cell phone or Internet café;
  • on marina notice boards.

NOTE

In accordance with IMO recommendations, Spain and France use the same Sea Areas in the Western Mediterranean. The names may look a little different in the two languages but are recognizable e.g. Cerdeña = Sardaigne, Argelia = Alger.

Conformity is not in the Italian psyche and, regrettably, Italy uses different sea areas both from these and also from those used by Greece, the country responsible for GMDSS INMARSAT-C and NAVTEX forecasts for the Eastern part of METAREA III.

Marine Radio Services

Spain

Weather Forecasts on VHF in English and Spanish are as in the following table. During the day the period covered is for "today until midnight". There is no outlook. During the evening the period changes to be until tomorrow midnight. However, the Spanish Met service issues gale warnings up to about three days ahead and may indicate the likely duration. They are able to do this because the conditions for such winds as the Mistral and the strong winds through the Gibraltar Strait are easy to forecast. To the sailor, the

winds may appear to set in suddenly but the conditions in terms of the pressure pattern are well known. Modern computerized forecasting makes the prediction straightforward. All broadcasts cover the nearby Sea Areas and most include Coastal Waters, also in English, except for (at least in 2000) those from Almería. From the north, the Spanish mainland coastal waters are (as far as I can determine) Girona, Barcelona, Tarragona, Castellón, Valencia, Alicante, Murcia, Almería, Málaga.

Station

Ch (after a call on Ch 16)

Broadcast Times - UTC

Algeçiras

74

0315 - 0515 - 0715 - 1115 - 1515 - 1915 - 2315

Almería

10, 67, 73

Odd Hours + 15 minutes

Barcelona

10

0600 - 0900 - 1500 – 2000

Palma

10

0735 - 1035 - 1535 – 2035

Tarifa

10, 67, 73

Even Hours + 15 minutes

Tarragona

13

0533 - 0933 - 1533 – 2033

Valencia

10, 67

Even Hours + 15 minutes

NB These are as on the most recent Spanish Met Service website. However, in the Summer there may be broadcasts also for Huelva, Cádiz, Cartegena, Castellón and Palamós. Listen on Ch 16 at all times and ask locally.

Some stations, eg Huelva and Cádiz are useful when entering the Med from the west. As far as I recollect, these cover waters around Huelva, Cádiz, Cabo Trafalgar and Tarifa (this area may have been referred to as Algeçiras).

Near the Strait of Gibraltar there are various forecasts on Radio Gibraltar, BFBS and Central FM but, mostly, these cover only a very limited area. The Palma broadcast that covers the Baléares can be difficult to receive, even around Mallorca, because they do not have any repeater stations. Better reception might be achieved by using the Spanish language broadcast in the table below. Texts of the Baléares forecast are usually on display in marinas and can be obtained as a quick download from the internet, click here for details.

Areas used in the Baléares are :- Dragonera to Formentor, Formentor to Capdepera, Capdepera to Salinas, Coasts of Cabrera, Salinas to Dragonera, North of Menorca, South of Menorca, East of Pitiusas, West of Pitiusas, Menorca Channel, Mallorca Channel. Note that las Pitiusas is the collective name for Ibiza, Espalmador and Formentera.

Forecasts in Spanish (only) on VHF and MF are as in the next table. These are only for Coastal Waters, but they include actual reports from well known locations. They are often produced by computer generated voice and can be difficult to understand unless you have good Spanish. However, by listening to the dual language broadcasts it is possible to get the gist of the Spanish only versions. This is useful when you are in an area of poor reception - it increases the likelihood of getting a weather forecast.

Station

Medium Wave

VHF After a call on Ch 16

Times UTC

kHz

Times UTC

Ch162

Chipiona

0733 - 1233 - 1903

1656

-

-

Cádiz

0833 - 1133 - 2003

-

0833-1133-2003

26

Tarifa

0733 - 1233 - 1933

1704

81

Málaga 1

0833-1133-2003

-

26

Cabo la Gata

0750 - 1303 - 1950

-

27

Cartegena

-

-

0910-1410-2110 3

4

Alicante

-

-

85

Cabo la Naõ

-

-

1

Castellón

-

-

25

Tarragona

-

-

23

Barcelona

-

-

60

Bagur

-

-

23

Menorca

-

-

85

Palma

0750 - 1303 - 1950.

1755

20

Ibiza

-

-

3

  1. Forecasts from Málaga include areas around Melilla on the North African coast and Isla Alborán.
  2. Channels given here are the latest known to me. Listen to the call on Ch 16 and be prepared to hunt for the best signal..
  3. This broadcast may be at other times also. This broadcast is in sections covering Girona, Barcelona, Tarragona, Castellón, Valencia, Alicante, Murcia and the Balearics. Mainland areas are usually given in groups. It is a long broadcast and the synopsis is likely to be repeated one or more times.

Occasionally, Marinas have a very useful plasticized card listing all the broadcasts in the above tables.

NOTE. These are in very fast Spanish. Texts of these broadcasts are on my Mediterranean Texts page.


France

Coastal waters forecasts produced by Météo-France are broadcast, in French (only), from CROSS (French Coastguard) stations. The delivery speed is usually slow enough o be understood with a little practice. Morning forecasts cover today/tonight and tomorrow in reasonable detail. This is

followed by "phenomenon important" normally for a further two days, sometimes longer. The evening forecast gives tonight, tomorrow and the following day again followed by "phenomenon important". Schedules are as follows

Station

Channel (after a call on Ch 16)

Broadcast Times - LT

Coastal Areas

Néoulos

79

0703 - 1233 - 1903

Languedoc-Roussillon (Spanish border to Port-Camargue)

Agde

0715 - 1245 - 1915

Planier

80

0733 - 1303 - 1933

Provence (Port-Camargue to St Raphaël)

Mont Coudon

0745 - 1315 - 1945

Experimental continuous broadcast

13

Updated three time daily

Pic de l'Ours

80

0803 - 1333 - 2003

Cote d'Azur. (St Raphaël to Menton)

Ersa (Cap Corse)

79

0733 - 1233 - 1933

Coasts of Corsica

Serra di Pigno (Bastia)

<

Conca (Porto Vecchio)

0803 - 1333 - 2003

Serragia (Bonifacio)

0815 - 1315 - 2015

Punta (Cargèse)

<0833 - 1333 - 2033

Piana (Porto)

0845 - 1345 - 2045

Other Météo-France forecasts broadcast by radio are listed in the next table.

Station

Channel and/or Frequency

Times

Sea or Coastal Areas

CROSS la Garde

1696 and 2677 kHz USB

0650, 1433 and 1850 (LT) (French/English)

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

Monaco Radio

20 (After a call on Ch 16)

0930 1403 and 1930 (LT) (French/English)

23

Continuous, updated twice daily morning and afternoon .(French/English)

Cote d'Azur. (St Raphaël to Menton)

24

Coasts of Corsica

25

Provence. (la Camargue to St Raphaël)

4363, 8728, 13146 and 17,260 kHz USB

0930, 1403 and 1930 (LT) (French/English)

All Western Mediterranean Sea Areas

0800 and 1030 (LT) .(French/English)

All Eastern Mediterranean Sea Areas

The forecasts from Monaco Radio on SSB and VHF Ch 20 start with a broadcast in French. This is followed by the announcer clarifying the forecast to callers. The forecast is then repeated in English . These forecasts include a brief outlook. In CROSS and some Monaco broadcasts, the French is often slow enough, sometimes with repetitions, to be easily understood. We found that the continuous VHF broadcast in English by Monaco Radio tends to be heavily accented and difficult to follow, with some odd translations. The French version may be easier to understand than the English.

It is useful to see some of the CROSS texts by going to the texts on my GMDSS page. At least you will be able to see, and look up, some of the place names referred to in the forecasts.

Over the years I have compiled a list of terms used in French Marine Weather forecasts. For day-to-day sailing, these are probably the best and most useful forecast services in the Western Med. It is just a pity that Météo-France seems to be strike prone!

Italy

(Apologies for the length of this section, but there is so much to say. Italian authorities, please read this and the NAVTEX section below!)

All routine broadcasts on Italian marine VHF are computer voice generated. The clarity is very good with a significant improvement in 2007 with two very good female voices and the same voice used throughout a transmission. Otherwise, I am sorry to have to say that the Italian marine weather service is very poor.

There is a continuous METEOMAR weather broadcast on VHF Ch 68, in Italian followed by English. The forecast comprises a 12 hour forecast and a 12 hour outlook for Italian sea areas followed by the same for the rest of the Mediterranean in large areas. There is then a further outlook of 4 12-hour forecasts of wind and sea state (in the Douglas Sea Scale), but only for the Italian sea areas. These are useful once you realise that they probably refer to a single point in an area rather than the whole area. The total broadcast takes about 20 minutes, 10 minutes in each language. It is updated four times daily. Learning the Italian terminology, shortens the agony!

MRCCs at Genoa, Rome, Cagliari etc broadcast forecasts after a call on Ch 16. These are at 6 hour intervals from 0733 UTC. They are, also, in English and Italian and are simply excerpts of the Ch 68 broadcast.

Problems are that there seems to be poor quality control of the output. VHF broadcasts can be curtailed at various stages. The texts are needlessly long and repetitive with many redundant and unnecessary words. The warnings section at the start of a broadcast is far too long and repetitive compared, for example, with French marine forecasts which simply say that there are

warnings in force. That alerts the sailor to listen carefully because the relevant information will be within the forecast text. The English translations are somewhat curious and can be confusing, especially to those whose first language is not English.

There is little or no local detail given although, in 2007, I noticed some attempt to mention strong winds in the Bonifacio Strait, for example, Sea breezes are referred to as “Wind increasing coastward”. However, they are inconsistent and there is little attempt to refer to variations across a large area such as the North Ionian. For each 12 hour period only one wind is quoted, unrealistically, for the whole sea area. This is totally unreasonable, meteorologically. Occasionally, forecasts say that wind is increasing or decreasing or changing direction, but usually not to what force or direction.

When in or near the Bonifacio Strait, it is almost certainly more useful to listen to the French forecast on VHF Channel 79. These forecasts cover the northern coasts of Sardinia, and normally give good and ample warning of strong winds through the Strait. The same is true for French NAVTEX weather broadcasts. Similarly, in the Adriatic, Croatian forecasts give better and more localised information.

The provision of forecasts for areas beyond Italian waters is pointless and simply lengthens broadcasts. Vessels needing forecasts for these areas are best advised to use the relevant broadcasts on VHF, NAVTEX. HF/SSB radio and INMARSAT-C from France, Greece and Spain.


The Adriatic

For Croatia, Weather forecasts from the Marine Meteorological Centre Split are preceded by an Security call on Channel 16. The forecast is given first in English then in Croatian. The Notices to Mariners then follows in both languagew The texts are virtually the same as on NAVTEX which is a very convenient and, we found, reliable way of getting the forecasts.

All these Croatian forecasts only cover 24 hour periods with no outlook beyond that. This limits their value to daily decisions rather than any forward planning. But, they are particularly useful for short term warnings of the Bora. The meteorological conditions for the Bora are predictable through Numerical Weather Prediction.

The best guidance is probably synoptic forecast charts eg from The UK Met Office or the US GRIB coded forecasts which give winds in vector format. These show when there are strong NE winds expected. If they indicate NE winds > 25 knots or so, then, in my brief experience, a Bora is likely.

A very good service is from the DWD RTTY broadcast which gives 5 day forecasts. A DWD 2½ day forecast is at a DWD site. In the following table of VHF broadcasts, Bar is in Montenegro, the rest in Croatia. Slovenia does not have any Marine Radio weather broadcasts. Radio Slovenia broadcasts forecasts in Slovenian and English at 0635 and 0955 LT on medium wave, 928 kHz, and FM

MRCC

Times (UTC)

Channels

Rijeka

0535, 1435.1935

04, 20, 24, 81

Split

0545, 1245, 1945

07, 21, 23, 28, 81

Dubrovnik

0625, 1320, 2129

04, 07, 85

Bar

0850, 1420, 2050

24 and 1720.4 kHz

NOTE. There used to be continuous VHF broadcasts from the three Croatian stations. In 2006, none was heard. It is assumed that they have been discontinued.


Greece

The Greek Met service produces one marine forecast. Apart from NAVTEX, each source will give forecasts for all the sea areas listed below in the order shown. Subsets of this are broadcast on NAVTEX 518 kHz. Forecasts are for 24 hours with a 12 hour outlook. Perhaps wisely, given the complex topography, there is no attempt at inshore waters forecasts. The sailor has to make his own judgements regarding local effects. For VHF and NAVTEX, forecasts are issued at 0200, 0800, 1400 and 2000 UTC.

The entire text of the 0200 and 1400 issues, broadcast by INMARSAT-C. are available as very quick downloads on the Internet. VHF broadcasts are

at 0600, 1000, 1600 and 2200 UTC. NAVTEX times are on another page. The only real criticism is that the warnings section. as for the Italian forecasts, is far too long. A note that there are warnings in force and, perhaps, the areas affected, should be sufficient to catch the attention of the listener. French and British marine forecasts set good examples.

An easy to use forecast, especially if you can read Greek is at http://www.meteo.gr/. Simply click on locations on the map. Other forecasts can be found on my GMDSS and Essential sites pages. Many sailors like the Poseidon site.


Eastern Mediterranean Sea Areas - See the chartlet on another page. North Adriatic, Central Adriatic, South Adriatic, Boot, Melita, Gabes, Sidra, North Ionio, South Ionio, Patraikos, Korinthiakos, Kithira Sea, Southwest Kritiko, Southeast Kritiko Ierapetra, Taurus, Delta, Crusade, Kastellorizo Sea, Rodos Sea, Karpathio, West Kritiko, East Kritiko, Southwest Aegean, Southeast Aegean Ikario, Samos Sea, Saronikos, South Evvoikos, Kafireas Strait, Central Aegean, Northwest Aegean, Northeast Aegean, Thrakiko, Thermaikos, Marmara, West Black Sea, East Black Sea.


Turkey

Theoretically the Turkish coastguard will give a forecast (in English) on request, but those trying this say that they have only had success at offices on land. The Turkish coastguard also broadcast (in English) announcements on Ch 16

of forecasts on Ch 67, but this seems to be irregular and not 100% coverage. Forecast texts are at my GMDSS page.

NAVTEX and INMARSAT

Under the provisions of the GMDSS, text forecasts for sea areas in the Mediterranean are broadcast on NAVTEX. Details are on my NAVTEX page for the Western Med and Eastern Med. For those with INMARSAT-C, there are broadcasts covering Western Mediterranean, produced by Météo France and the Eastern Mediterranean, produced by the Greek Met service Texts of GMDSS broadcasts on NAVTEX and INMARSAT-C can be found from the GMDSS page. see also the WMO/IMO GMDSS texts link.

Texts of the French INMARSAT - C forecast for the Western Med and texts of the INMARSAT-C Greek forecast for the Eastern Med are

broadcast by Monaco 3AC. See the French radio Table above. Both are in French and English. Notes on NAVTEX and its reception problems are at one of my NAVTEX pages. NAVTEX is an integral part of the GMDSS. Despite its limitations and faults, it should be used by all yachts in European waters and ,many other areas worldwide.

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. See the decodes in the Appendix.


Notes on NAVTEX in the Mediterranean

Forecast periods in NAVTEX broadcasts which are part of the GMDSS should be for 24 hours with a brief 24 hour outlook. The French Forecasts from Toulon are produced in this way. Some NAVTEX broadcasts are extra to the GMDSS programme and do not necessarily conform. For example, the Spanish forecasts in the morning are until midnight but the evening forecasts cover until "midnight tomorrow". Spanish forecasts do not give an outlook but they do frequently issue warnings of near gale and gale force winds (ie F7+) for up to about three days ahead.

The Italian NAVTEX forecast gives a 12 hour forecast plus a 12 hour outlook, followed by a further 48 hour outlook given as wind and sea state in 12 hour periods. The text is the same that is used for their Ch 68 VHF broadcasts. They are excessively wordy and can take up all of the 10 minute NAVTEX time slot.

The morning NAVTEX broadcasts, around 0700 UTC, use the texts of the midnight issue of Ch 68. The latter is updated at 0600 UTC. That means that you sometimes get a (very) different forecast on NAVTEX to that you have just heard on Ch 68. This is very poor procedure and leaves users unsure regarding the competence of the Italian Met service.

In the evening NAVTEX broadcasts around 1900 UTC. the first 12 hours of the forecast is “For today until 1800”. The outlook is then from 1800 today until 0600 tomorrow. I have no explanation for this. It is all very odd and, again, casts doubt on the competence of the Italian marine weather service. A serious problem is that there is no overlap between areas

covered by each station. You can be in an area where, for example, Cagliari is the NAVTEX station that you can receive but the area forecast in on the Rome broadcast which you are not receiving.

From the above, it will be realised that I regard the Italian NAVTEX weather service as unnecessarily poor. There seems to be no understanding of user needs. There seems, also, to be a wilful disregard for IMO guidance on the content and format of broadcasts.

Croatian NAVTEX forecasts are for a 12 hour period and a 12 hour outlook with no further outlook. They cover the whole of the Adriatic in one forecast but, in the text, they refer to the Northern, Central and Southern Adriatic.

The weather content of Greek NAVTEX forecasts is as good as is possible given the very complex topography, except that they give only a 12 hour outlook. The Greek stations are easily received along the Aegean coast of Turkey. The Turkish NAVTEX forecasts are much briefer and more sketchy but also give gale warnings.

NAVTEX reception, on the whole is remarkably good. We received la Garde all around Sardinia. On the other hand, at Sanary sur Mer, on some occasions, we could not receive la Garde, even though we could nearly see Toulon. We found it to be very good in the Adriatic and, given the somewhat idiosyncratic English of Croatian forecasts, easier and more reliable than VHF broadcasts. See my NAVTEX problems page for more on this subject.


Radio Fax

Offenbach and Northwood are the only two fax broadcasts that I have been able to receive. Synoptic charts may not be very useful for yachtsmen in the Summer since Mediterranean weather can be very localised and pressure patterns not well defined. However, Northwood does broadcast charts of forecasts with wind vectors twice a day. These are for two days to five days ahead. The wind vectors show the wind direction with "feathers" giving speed. One long feather = 10 knots, one short feather = 5 kn. SW 20 knots and N 25 knots would be as shown here.

The forecast charts can be useful to indicate when NW winds are likely to cause Mistral or similar types of wind. Look for a cold front crossing France from the west or a low forming in the Gulf of Genoa. They do, also, give some indication of a change from Levanter to Poniente through the Gibraltar Strait. Full Schedules are available on the Internet, see my GMDSS page for details. RadioFax may not last many more years, There have been industry discussions regarding possible replacement systems. These are likely to be satellite based and may not be yachtsman friendly.


Radio Teleprinter

To my mind, one of the most valuable of all forecast services comes from the Offenbach Radio Teleprinter broadcasts of 5 day forecasts (wind and sea state at 12 hour intervals). These are extremely useful in that they give several days warning of such major winds as the Mistral and Tramontane, thus allowing sensible planning for passage making across the Golfe du Lion and other such gale prone areas.

Other Offenbach outputs are two day forecasts (wind, weather and sea state at 6 hourly intervals), area forecasts for the next 24 hours and actual reports from a small selection of stations.. The 2 and 5 day forecasts are direct output from the German numerical weather prediction model. Programme 1 (mainly in English) is on 4583, 7646 (both at 1 kW power) and 10100.8 kHz (10 kW power). I usually used the last two of these. Programme 2 (mainly in German) is on 11039 and 14467.3 kHz (both at 1 kW power). I frequently had to tune up or down one or two kHz. The 2 and 5 day (Western) Mediterranean forecasts are for points named as Golfe du Lion, Balearic Islands, Ligurian Sea, W of Corse/Sard and Tyrrhenian Sea. (The names in the German language version are a little different.)

Mediterranean forecasts give guidance relating to winds through the Strait of Gibraltar but only for two days ahead. Most forecasts are repeated so that reception should be possible even if you have to have more than one go. For those with no German, Tief = Low, Hoch = High. The first two letters of the days of the week from Sunday on are SO, MO, DI, MI, DO, FR, SA. Germans run words together so that Suedostziehend = moving south-eastwards.

Reception of both Radio Fax and Teleprinter can be very dependent upon time of day and location. Sometimes I could not receive the 10100.8 kHz (15 kW) transmission at 0415 UTC but could receive the 11039 kHz (1 kW) one at 0535. Mains transformers and inverters both can cause interference. Experiment by running the PC on its internal battery during reception periods. Full Schedules are available on the Internet, see my GMDSS page for details. Go to the Appendix for an example of a 6 day Med forecast and some hints in dealing with corrupt texts. There are some very good software packages that will decode these transmissions. I use SEATTY but MScan is highly regarded by many. Search Google for these.


National and Local Radio

For those with better than average French, Radio Bleue (Ajaccio 1404, Nice 1557, Bastia 1494, Marseilles 1242 kHz) have marine forecasts at about 0655 LT. Similarly for other local and Regional radio services. France Inter on 162 kHz is another possibility, it gives sea area forecasts for the northern half of the Med at 2003 LT. I found the latter very fast (so, according to a French yachtsman, do the French!) There are similar services available in other countries. Sometimes forecasts are in English and/or German.

For German speakers there are forecasts on German radio at 1755 Lt and on Austrian radio at 1815 LT. Most national TV stations now have weather forecasts of some form. Sometimes they are useful to sailors. Much depends upon the station controller, his audience figures and his own interest. For example, Greek TV broadcasts forecasts with synoptic charts at (I think) 2100 or 2130 watchable in bars. Turkish TV is more rudimentary. Both in local language.

Premium rated telephone etc

There are several services provided by Météo France for French Coastal Waters and Sea Areas further afield, similar to the now defunct MetFax and MarineCall in the UK The private firm Météo Consult offers services covering all of the Mediterranean (and other areas such as the Baltic and Eastern Atlantic). MetMarine, with Météo France, provide Mediterranean marine weather forecasts in English, via the Internet, FREEPHONE, and via SMS text.

For more information please visit the MetMarine site Some of these use premium rated telephone services, telefax and Minitel. Prices look broadly comparable to those in the UK. You can also use the Met Office MetFax service or pay about £15 for a telephone consultancy with Gibraltar Met. I do not know whether the Spanish and Italian Met Services have their national variants or if they leave the field to Météo Consult.


Internet

Many products are now available on the Internet. These include charts from the UK Met Office and other centres, some of the RTTY products of Offenbach, many GMDSS forecasts, texts of coastal waters forecasts etc. This is fine if you are ashore with land line telephone access. It is a different matter if afloat and trying to use a GSM telephone. The bandwidth is too low to allow downloading of much information, especially in picture form. If you keep to text information then you can download direct to a palm top computer. Use direct links, to access (at no charge) the texts of broadcasts

under the GMDSS. Alternatively, you could access some of the information from the DWD RTTY. broadcasts. The advent of GPRS has made the use of a mobile phone a much more affordable and practical proposition. Charging is by volume of data up or downloaded rather than on a connection time basis. Once connected you can stay connected at a small cost and even use the phone for normal calls while so connected. Discuss the mechanics with your telephone service provider. Go to the Essential Sites or GMDSS pages for some links. See pages on this site about telephone connection while at sea and the page on Mobile Phone settings..


Forecasts by email

INMARSAT-C and Mini M. can also be used for sending and receiving email as can satellite telephone and, when near the coast, GSM or GPRS telephones. For some general notes and links on these topics see the page on Internet connection while cruising.

Météo France NAVIMAIL and Météo Consult both provide services via email on repayment. NWS, Washington makes texts of GMDSS

services available, free of charge. The Saildocs text retrieval facility can be a useful way of getting texts from web pages withouit all the advertisments.

For a very efficient way to download information, use the GRIB coded information available from the US NWS via Saildocs and GlobalMarineNet.


HF and Amateur (HAM) Radio

I have had a demo of HAM radio from Ross a liveaboard, circumnavigating Australian on Gemini, a 45 footer with (by my standards) space and power supplies galore. Those with the time, inclination, ability etc plus the necessary facilities can access much of the above information at no charge - apart from their licence fee etc - via Amateur radio using Winlink which holds a Catalog of "standard" items that users find useful or have been recommended.

As I understand it, the Winlink system works as follows. When someone asks for a Catalog item using email over Amateur HF radio, the request comes into a network participating station.. If this station has caching turned on for a substantial number, say, 100, then the most popular 100 requested items are cached in the local computer and the response is immediate. If the response is not cached in the local computer memory, then a program goes out to the

Internet and picks it up. Many weather products have duplicate URLs in case one is down or not up to date. Winlink usually has at least one backup URL for each product listed. GRIB products can be obtained via Winlink or by directing an email over HF to Saildocs.For more information than I have, go, to the Winlink or SailMail home pages. Until such time as satellite telephone services become affordable, this seems to be a viable solution to accessing Internet products when at sea and out of cell phone contact. Even with current telephone charges, HF radio offers a cost effective alternative to email. However, due to propagation and reception problems it may not be available 100% of the time. See my HF reception page for some basic notes on this complex topic. Go to the page written by RCC member Richard Clifford for much more on using email via HF Radio.


Marina Offices

Many marinas and harbour offices display forecasts from varying sources. These may be the National Met Service, private Met firms, the Internet etc. The quality may, therefore be somewhat uneven and forecasts from the different sources may not tally. As ever, the sailor is faced with conflicting advice and has to make a judgement based on experience. Because of my background I generally prefer the National Met Service versions. In French marinas, I have been able to compare Météo France forecasts on VHF (and occasionally in text) with texts from private suppliers.

Although I have not compiled any statistics, my impression is that Météo France is usually the more reliable.

WARNING - a general warning for all forecasts, but particularly those posted in marinas and elsewhere, is to check the date and time of issue. I have often seen out of date forecasts being studied carefully by yachtsmen. Marina staff sometimes show a touching but unjustified faith in five day forecasts and seem unaware that a forecast issued three days ago for today will be less reliable than one issued today.


Radio Nets

There are various HF radio nets that provide a useful exchange of information. Usually, one contributor will give a run down of the weather situation. These are only as good as the information input and the person providing the summary. Most of the data sources are either on this page, the

Mediterranean Section of my Essential Site. or the GMDSS. texts page. To me, it is the lazy person's approach. There is no substitute for hearing or reading it for yourself. .


Appendix - Radio Teleprinter messages

Because of reception problems these often have varying degrees of corruption. By knowing the form of the messages and by using the notes below it is often possible to make some sense of what may seem utter garbage at first sight. The most useful service, strictly for planning purposes, is a five day forecast with winds at 12 hour intervals . An example is given below as received. The 5 day forecast is only available on RTTY. However, forecasts for the next 3 days at 6 hourly intervals also at grid points is on the Internet. See the DWD link. A sample message The following is the 5 day forecast broadcast by "Offenbach", strictly speaking, Pinneberg. on May 31, 2001 at 0415 UTC, ie at 0615 LT. It was received on board Anhinga in the harbour at Viareggio (15 miles north of Livorno) on the west coast of Italy.. The frequency was 10100.8 kHz USB.

CQ CQ CQ DE DDK2 DDH7 DDK9 FREQUENCIES 4583 KHZ 7646 KHZ 10100.8 KHZ CQ CQ CQ DE DDK2 DDH7 DDK9 FREQUENCIES 4583 KHZ 7646 KHZ 10100.8 KHZ CQ CQ CQ DE DDK2 DDH7 DDK9

FREQUENCIES 4583 KHZ 7646 KHZ 10100.8 KHZ

RYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRY

ZCZC 207

FEMM74 EDZW 310000

MEDIUM RANGE - WEATHER AND SEA BULLETIN FOR THE

MEDITERRANEAN SEA ISSUED BY MARINE WEATHER SERVICE HAMBURG

31.05.2001 04 UTC:

GENERAL SYNOPTIC SITUATION

HIGH 1020 SARDINIA WEAKENING. LOW 1013 SPAIN WEAKENING A

LITTLE, STATIONARY. LOW 1003 SYRIA, STATIONARY. LOW 988

WHITE RUSSIA MOVING NORTHEAST SLOWLY. LARGE HIGH FRIDAY

1037 NORTH OF THE AZORES STATIONARY. RIDGE FRIDAY 1025

BRITTANY NEARLY UNCHANGED. LOW FRIDAY 1004)BULGARIA

WEAKENING, MOVING EAST. LOW FRIDAY 1008 NORTHERN ITALY

MOVING SOUTHEAST. TEXT ZENDE

FORECASTS OF TH, 31.05.2001 00 UTC:

WIND FORCE BEAUFORT, WAVE HEIGHT METRE

GOLFE DU LION (42.2N 4.5E) SST: 19 C

FR 01. 12Z: NW-N 6-7 / 8 3 M //

SA 02. 00Z: NW 7-8 / 9 2. //

SA 02. 12Z: NW 7 / 8-9 2 MN//

SU . 00Z: NW 7 / 8-9 2 M //

SU 03. 12Z: NW 8 / 10 3.5 M //

MO 04. 00Z: NW-N 7-8 / 9-10 3 M //

MO 04. 12Z: NW-N 3 / 6-7 1 M //

TU 05. 00Z: S 3-4 / 0.5 M //

TU 05. 12Z: SE-S 4-5 / 0.5 M //

WE 06. 00Z: SE-S 4-5 / 1 M //

WE 06. 12Z: SE 4-5 / 0.5 M /

BALEARIC ISLANDS (39.4N 3.7E) SST: 19 C

FR 01. 12Z: N-NE 4-5 / 05 M //

SA 02. 00Z: N 2-3 / 1 M //

SA 02. 12Z: NE 0-2 / 1 M //

SU 03. 00Z: SE 0-2 / 1 M //

SU 03. 12Z: NE 2-3 / 1 M //

MO 04. 00Z: W 2-3 / 1.5 M //

MO 04. 12Z: S-SW 0-2 / 1 M //

TU 05. 00Z: SE-S 3 / 0.5 M //

TU 05. 12Z: SE 4 / 0.5 M //

WE 06. 00Z: E-SE 3-4 / 0.5 M //

WE 06. 12Z: SE 3-4 / 0.5 M //

LIGURIAN SEA (43.3N 9.3E) SST: 19 C

FR 01. 12Z: N 5 / 0.5 M //

SA 02. 00Z: NE 5 / 1 M //

SA 02. 12Z: NE 0-2 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 00Z: NW-N 2-3 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 12Z: NW-N 4 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 00Z: N 5-6 / 1 M //

MO 04. 12Z: N-NE 0-2 / 0.5 M //

TU 05. 00Z: SE 0-2 / 0.5 M //

TU 05. 12Z: SE 0-2 / 0.5 M //

WE 06. 00Z: SE 2-3 / 0.5 M //

WE 06. 12Z: SE 3 / 0.5 M //

W OF CORSE/SARD. (41.4N 7.2E) SST: 19 C

FR 01. 12Z: NW-N 5 / 6-7 2.5 M //

SA 02. 00Z: NW-N 3-4 / 2 M //

SA 02. 12Z: NW 4-5 / 1.5 M //

SU 03. 00Z: NW 7 / 8-9 2.5 M //

SU 03. 12Z: NW 7 / 10 4 M //

MO 04. 00Z: NW-N 2-3 / 2.5 M //

MO 04. 12Z: SE-S 0-2 / 1.5 M //

TU 05. 00Z: SE 0-2 / 0.5 M //

TU 05. 12Z: S-SW 2-3 / 0.5 M //

WE 06. 00Z: ?? 2-4 / 0.5 M //

WE 06. 12Z: SE 2-3 / 0.5 M //

TYRRHENIAN SEA (41.5N 10.5E) SST: 18 C

FR 01. 12Z: NW-N 3-4 / 0.5 M //

SA 02. 00Z: NW-N 4-5 / 1.5 M //

SA 02. 12Z: N 0-2 / 1 M //

SU 03. 00Z: W 5 / 1 M //

SU 03. 12Z: NW-N 5 / 2 M //

MO 04. 00Z: NW-N 4-5 / 2 M //

MO 04. 12Z: N-NE 3-4 / 1.5 M //

TU 05. 00Z: SE-S 0-2 / 0.5 M //

TU 05. 12Z: SE-S 3-4 / 0.5 M //

WE 06. 00Z: SE-S 4 / 0.5 M //

WE 06. 12Z: SE-S 4-5 / 0.5 M //

ADRIA-NORTH (44.3N 13.5E) SST: 20 C

FR 01. 12Z: N-NE 3 / 0.5 M //

SA 02. 00Z: N-NE 4-5 / 1 M //

SA 02. 12Z: NE 3-4 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 00Z: NE 2-3 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 12Z: N 3-4 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 00Z: NE 5-6 / 7 1 M //

MO 04. 12Z: N 3-4 / 0.5 M //

TU 05. 00Z: S 2-3 / 0.5 M //

TU 05. 12Z: SE-S 0-2 / 0.5 M //

WE 06. 00Z: S 2-3 / 0.5 M //

WE 06. 12Z: SE 0-2 / 0.5 M //

ADRIA-SOUTH (42.0N 17.8E) SST: 20 C

FR 01. 12Z: S-SW 0-2 / 0.5 M //

SA 02. 00Z: N 4 / 0.5 M //

SA 02. 12Z: N 2-3 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 00Z: NW 0-2 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 12Z: SE 2-3 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 00Z: NW-N 4-5 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 12Z: NW-N 6 / 7 1.5 M //

TU 05. 00Z: NW-N 6 / 7 1.5 M //

TU 05. 12Z: NW 5-6 / 6-7 1 M //

WE 06. 00Z: NW 4 / 0.5 M //

WE 06. 12Z: W-NW 2-3 / 0.5 M //

IONIAN SEA (37.4N 19.2E) SST: 21 C

FR 01. 12Z: SW 4 / 0.5 M //

SA 02. 00Z: SW 4-5 / 0.5 M //

SA 02. 12Z: SW-W 3 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 00Z: W-NW 2-3 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 12Z: SW-W 3 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 00Z: W-NW 5-6 / 6-7 1 M //

MO 04. 12Z: NW 6 / 7 2 M //

TU 05. 00Z: NW-N 7 / 8 2.5 M //

TU 05. 12Z: NW-N 6-7 / 8-9 3 M //

WE 06. 00Z: NW-N 6 / 7-8 2.5 M //

WE 06. 12Z: NW 4-5 / 6-7 1.5 M //

AEGEAN SEA-N. (39.0N 25.2E) SST: 19 C

FR 01. 12Z: S 4-5 / 0.5 M //

SA 02. 00Z: S-SW 4-5 / 6-7 0.5 M //

SA 02. 12Z: S-SW 2-3 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 00Z: E-SE 2-3 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 12Z: SE 3 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 00Z: SE-S 4-5 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 12Z: SW 3-4 / 1 M //

TU 05. 00Z: NW 6 / 7 1 M //

TU 05. 12Z: NW 6-7 / 8 2 M //

WE 06. 00Z: NW 6 / 7 1.5 M //

WE 06. 12Z: NW-N 4 / 6-7 1 M //

AEGEAN SEA-S. (36.3N 25.5E) SST: 20 C

FR 01. 12Z: SW 0-2 / 0.5 M //

SA 02. 00Z: S-SW 0-2 / 0.5 M //

SA 02. 12Z: SW-W 0-2 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 00Z: SW-W 0-2 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 12Z: SW 0-2 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 00Z: SW-W 4-5 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 12Z: SW-W 5-6 / 7 2 M //

TU 05. 00ZAPW 4-5 / 2.5 M //

TU 05. 12Z: N 4-5 / 1.5 M //

WE 06. 00Z: NW 4 / 1.5 M //

WE 06. 12Z: NW 4 / 1.5 M //

RHODES/CYPR (35.0N 30.4E) SST: 21 C

FR 01. 12Z: NE 0-2 / 0.5 M //

SA 02. 00Z: N-NE 0-2 / 0.5 M //

SA 02. 12Z: W-NW 3 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 0Z: W 3-4 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 12Z: W 4-5 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 00Z: W 3-

/ 0.5 M //

MO 04. 12Z: SW-W 4-5 / 0.5 M //

TU 05. 00Z: W 5 / 1 M //

TU 05. 12Z: W 5-6 / 1.5 M //

WE 06. 00Z: W-NW 6-7 / 7-8 2 M //

WE 06. 12Z: W-NW 6-7 / 8 2 M //

BAY OF BISCAY (46.4N 5.7W) SST: 16 C

FR 01. 12Z: NE 3-4 / 1 M //

SA 02. 00Z: NW-N 4 / 1 M //

SA PWM QWZ: NW 4 / 1 M //

SU 03. 00Z: N 4 / 1 M //

SU 03. 12Z: E 4 / 1.5 M //

MO 04. 00Z: E 4-5 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 12Z: E-SE 5 ? 1.5 M //

TU 05. 00Z: SW 4-5 / 195 M //

TU 05. 12Z: W 5-6 / 6-7 2 M //

WE 06. 00Z: SW-W 4-5 / 1.5 M //

WE 06. 12Z: SW 5-6 / 7 2 M //

...SCHWARZMEER?W... (43.3N 30.8E) SST: 15 C

FR 01. 12Z: SE 5-6 / 7-8 1.5 M //

SA 02. 00Z: NW 4-5 / 1 M //

SA 02. 12Z: NW-N 3 / 1 M //

SU 03. 00Z: N-NE 0-2 / 0.5 M /

SU 03. 12Z: NE-E 3-4 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 00Z: E 4-5 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 12Z: E 4 / 1 M //

TU 05. 00Z: SW 4 / 1 M //

TU 05. 12Z: W 6-7 / 8 2 M //

WE 06. 00Z: SW-W 5-6 / 7 1.5 M //

WE 06. 12Z: W 2-3 / 1 M //

...SCHWARZMEER?E... (43.6N 35.3E) SST: 16 C

FR 01. 12Z: E-SE 5-6 / 0.5 M //

SA 02. 00Z: S 4-5 / 8 1.5 M //

SA 02. 12Z: W 4 / 1 M //

SU 03. 00Z: NW-N 2-3 / 0.5 M //

SU 03. 12Z: NE-E 3-4 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 00Z: NE-E 4 / 0.5 M //

MO 04. 12Z: E 4-5 / 0.5 M //

TU 05. 00Z: NW-N 4 0.5 M //

TU 05. 12Z: SW-W 6-7 ?005 M //

WE 06. 00Z: W 5-6 / 8 2 M //

WE 06. 12Z: S 3-4 / 1 M //

LEGEND: GRIDPOINT FORECASTS:

WIND: DIRECTION, FORCE (SPEED)/

GUSTS PAST 12 HRS

SIGNIFICANT TOTAL WAVE HEIGHT(M)//

SST: SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE (DEG C)

--- MEANS: NO VALUE AVAILABLE

FORECASTS ARE VALID FOR THE AREA CENTRE

AND ARE BASED ON MODEL-COMPUTATION OF

DEUTSCHER WETTERDIENST

(GERMAN WEATHER SERVICE)=

NNNN


Dealing with corrupt messages

Teleprinter keyboards have only three banks of keys and no lower case letters. If a character shift gets lost then character transpositions occur such as Q, W, E, R, T, Y, U, I, O, P for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0. The decimal point . is on key M, the slash / is on X and the hyphen - is on A. Other possibilities are + (plus) for Z, : (colon) for C, = (equals) for V, ? (query) for B, , (comma) for N, ' (apostrophe) for S, # (hash) for D, ( (open brackets) for K and ) (close brackets) for L.

Thus, PMT could be 0.5 (for wave height) and EAR could be 3-4 for wind force. PPZ will be 00Z, QW, where a time might be could be 12. Conversely, a 2 or a 3 where a wind direction might be could be West or East. I download on to my laptop and then try to make sense of such garbling.


Click here to read about Weather in the Western Mediterranean.


This page was originally prepared as a comprehensive amendment for the Mediterranean Section of the Cruising Association to the various Western Mediterranean Pilot books. With some minor amendments and some additions for the Eastern Mediterranean, it is reproduced here. The Med Section is very active and a very good reason for becoming a member of the CA. A useful "one-stop" guide to Mediterranean forecast sources is at Doug Decker's site'''


Home