Basic Marine Weather For Junior Sailors

Basic Marine Weather For Junior Sailors

Sailing a small boat requires many skills, however no aspect of boating is more important than understanding marine weather forecasting. The weather determines when it is safe to leave port and whether your outing will be safe and enjoyable. During this four-hour seminar, high school age junior sailors will learn basic weather principles and how to use a wide variety of forecasting resources. These skills will reduce the potential that they will encounter uncomfortable or hazardous weather conditions while they are on the water.

Topics covered during the Clinic:

  • Understanding Surface Weather Maps: Weather forecast graphics use a confusing collection of symbols, meteorological shorthand, and color schemes to display current weather conditions and portray future weather patterns. The symbols identifying high and low pressure systems, frontal boundaries, troughs, ridges, and other meteorological features will be explained.
  • Wind Forecasting: This section looks at the forces that control the wind and introduces a variety of online resources that will improve your ability to predict wind speed and direction.
  • Wave Forecasting: Wave heights can make all the difference between a pleasant trip and a wet, uncomfortable one. This section explains the dynamics of wave formation and the forces that sustain them. We will review a variety of forecasting resources to help you predict the size of the waves you will encounter.
  • Using Doppler Weather Radar: Doppler weather radar has a lot to offer the weather-savvy boater. You’ll learn how weather radar works (along with a few of its quirks), how to interpret the images, and how it can be used to monitor the development, intensity, and speed of approaching thunderstorms.
  • Understanding & Forecasting Thunderstorms: Thunderstorms can quickly spoil an outing in many ways—strong winds, large waves, dangerous lightning or visibility-limiting rain. This section will examine the various types of thunderstorms and the ingredients that lead to their formation. Reduce your chances of a hair-raising or wind-swept encounter with a thunderstorm by learning to assess the potential for their development using readily available Internet resources.
  • Noteworthy Websites & Apps: There are plenty of websites and apps focusing on marine weather forecasting. This section will introduce several of the most popular resources.
  • Weather Jeopardy – an entertaining and educational way to review the materials presented in the seminar.

Click here to download the outline the seminar.
Click here to download the seminar flyer.


About The Presenter

Mark Thornton has been boating on the Great Lakes for more than 30 years. Mark recently transitioned from sailing and now owns Osprey, a Mainship 34 Pilot. He 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 Bayview Race to Mackinac since 2014. Mark is employed as a Teaching Assistant in the Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting Program at Penn State University.

Click here to read about my marine weather forecasting seminars, webinars and presentations. Click here for the current schedule of educational programs.

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Phone: 440.250.9179

Marine Weather Forecasting
Cruisers University - Annapolis Boat Shows
October 11 & 12, 2023
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Click here for the complete seminar schedule.

Seminar Reviews
"You have a passion for meteorology that is contagious and a gift for communicating a complex subject.".

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