Basic Marine Weather Forecasting
S.T.E.M. For High School Students
The Foundry
January 15 & 17, 2019


Boating on the Great Lakes and its tributaries requires many skills. Whether you are a rower, sailor, paddler, or powerboater, 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 two-part seminar, you will learn basic weather principles and how to use a wide variety of forecasting resources. These skills will reduce the potential that you will be encounter uncomfortable or hazardous weather conditions while you are on the water.

Seminar Outline

Session One: Tuesday, January 15, 2019

  • 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.

Session Two: Thursday, January 17, 2019

  • 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.


The Foundry

1833 Columbus Road

Cleveland, OH 44113

January 15 & 17, 2019

4:00 pm to 6:00 pm


Contact Cathy Newpher, The Foundry's Director of Sailing to attend.

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.