Great Lakes Basic Marine Weather Seminar
For Both Sailors & Power Boaters
March 9, 2019


Learn a little weather forecasting and reduce the uncertainty of boating on the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Basic Marine Weather Seminar is designed to provide Great Lakes power boaters and sailors with an understanding of basic marine weather forecasting. With these skills, you can:

  • Improve your decision-making for family outings.
  • Enhance your confidence in planning long-distance journeys.
  • Improve your racing performance.
  • Reduce the likelihood of being exposed to uncomfortable or hazardous weather conditions.

What you can expect to learn at the seminar:

  • How to decode the confusing symbols and meteorological shorthand on forecast graphics.
  • How to predict the development and movement of low pressure systems and their accompanying frontal boundaries.
  • Why the wind behaves the way it does and how to prepare a detailed wind forecast.
  • How to prepare a detailed wave height forecast.
  • How to forecast the potential and nature of severe weather.
  • The terminology used by the National Weather Service during hazardous and severe weather events.
  • How to use Doppler weather radar to help you avoid a hair-raising encounter with a thunderstorm.
  • Where to find forecast graphics and a strategy for preparing a multi-day marine forecast.

The workshop combines traditional classroom instruction, case studies and several hands-on forecasting exercises to create an engaging learning experience.  

Seminar Outline

  • Introduction
  • A Solid Foundation (Basic Meteorological Principles)
  • Interpreting Weather Graphics
  • Wind Forecasting
  • Clouds And Precipitation
  • Dissecting A Low Pressure System
  • Observational Tools (Radar & Satellite Imagery)
  • Thunderstorms
  • Wave Forecasting
  • A Daily Forecast Routine
  • On-board Resources (Monitoring The Weather After You Leave The Dock)

Click here for a detailed outline.

Columbia Yacht Club

111 N. Lake Shore Drive

Chicago, IL 60611

March 9, 2019

8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Early bird fee of $50 until February 15, 2019. After February 15, 2019 registration is $65. (Fee includes lunch.)

For additional information and registration, please click here or contact the Columbia Yacht Club Purser at 312.938.3625.

About The Presenter

Mark Thornton has been sailing for more than 25 years and currently owns Osprey, a C&C 35. His interest in weather forecasting grew from his experiences cruising and racing on the Great Lakes. Mark is a 2006 graduate of the Penn State University Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting, a two-year program that develops skills in general, tropical, and severe weather forecasting.

He is the president of LakeErieWX LLC, a company dedicated to providing marine weather education and forecasting resources for recreational boaters ( Mark publishes a marine weather blog and teaches basic forecasting seminars to recreational boaters during the off-season. He has served as the Race Meteorologist for the Bell’s Beer Bayview Race to Mackinac since 2014. Mark is also employed as a Teaching Assistant in the Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting Program at Penn State University.