Marine Weather Presentations

One-hour marine weather topics for boat shows, racing clinics, awards banquets, or annual meetings.

Thunderstorms: A Primer for Coastal and Inland Boaters

Thunderstorms can quickly spoil an outing in many ways—strong winds, large waves, dangerous lightning or visibility-limiting rain. This presentation will examine the various types of thunderstorms and the atmo­spheric ingredients that lead to their formation.

Learn why thunderstorms often ‘pop-up’ late on summer afternoons and why some storms have short life-spans while others persist for hours. Discover why thunderstorms remain independent on some days and form into damaging long-lived squall lines on others. Learn to rec­ognize the conditions that spawn waterspouts and why they peak in the fall. 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 and the sky.

Doppler Weather Radar: A Boater's Best Friend

Doppler weather radar from the National Weather Service network has a lot to offer the weather-savvy boater. This presentation will introduce and examine the common and lesser known types of Doppler radar imagery and provide instruction in its interpretation and use.

In addition to learning how weather radar works (along with a few of its quirks), you will learn how to use it to monitor the development, intensity, and speed of approaching thunderstorms. Doppler radar can also be helpful in judging the potential for damaging thunderstorm wind gusts. The presentation will introduce sources for Doppler weather radar such as the Internet, pc-based software and smartphone applications.


Weather Makers: Understanding Low Pressure Systems

Low pressure system have a long association with bad weather, and their passage often produces strong, gusty and shifty winds; steep waves; damaging thunderstorms; and abrupt temperature changes. This presentation will introduce and examine the features that comprise low pressure systems such as stationary fronts, cold fronts, warm fronts, and occluded fronts.

Learn what type of wind and weather to expect from each sector of the system. The presentation will also review the online forecasting graphics that predict the formation, transition and movement of these weather makers.


Interpreting Surface Weather Maps

Weather forecast maps use a confusing collection of symbols, meteorological shorthand, timekeeping systems, and color schemes to display current and future weather patterns. The symbols identifying high and low pressure systems, frontal boundaries, troughs, ridges, tropical cyclones and other meteorological features will be introduced. Wind forecasting graphics such as wind barbs, streamlines, and wind vectors will also be examined.


Forecasting The Wind

No aspect of weather is more important to sailors than the wind. It dictates when it is safe to leave port and whether your journey will be fast or comfortable. On the race course, properly predicting the wind separates the winners from the losers.

This presentation is designed for sailors of all experience levels and interests. Accurately forecasting the wind promotes safer, more enjoyable outings and improves performance on the race course. Whether you are a day sailor, beer-can racer, long-distance cruiser or serious competitor, the skills learned during this presentation will enhance your understanding of the wind and improve your sailing experience.


Marine Weather Primer

All Great Lakes’ boaters should have a basic understanding of marine weather forecasting. This presentation introduces a few basic principles and online forecasting resources to help you avoid a bad day on the water. Low pressure systems, thunderstorms, weather radar and wind & wave forecasting will also be examined.


Marine Weather Apps

There are plenty of apps devoted to marine weather observations and forecasting. Apps are a convenient and popular way to access wind & wave forecasts, marine observations, Doppler Weather Radar, and prepare the most favorable route. However not all apps are created equal. Several popular weather-related apps such as Squid Sailing, Predict Wind, Windy, OpenCPN, GRLevel 3, and Radarscope will be introduced. We’ll examine the underlying data sources and discuss the issues associated with relying on apps for your racing and cruising forecasts.


Full-Day Marine Weather Seminars

LakeErieWX also offers several full-day marine forecasting seminars. Click here for more information.


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 (www.lakeeriewx.com). 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.

As both a sailor and a meteorologist, I am uniquely qualified to improve the weather-related skills of your members. Please contact me by email or call 440-250-9179 to learn how a weather forecasting seminar can help address your organization's educational, safety, and membership goals.

Click here to view my meteorological resume or here to read about my marine weather forecasting seminars and workshops.

Interested in reading and learning more about marine weather? A few times each year, I publish an article on an interesting marine weather event. Click here to subscribe to my 'no spam' email distribution list.

Email: Mark@LakeErieWX.com
Phone: 440.250.9179




Upcoming Seminars & Presentations


Now scheduling for 2018/2019


December 18, 2018
Weather Forecasting Apps
Great Lakes Cruising Club School
Online Webinar

Click here for more information.


January 11, 2019
Chicago Boat, Sail & RV Show

  • Thunderstorms: A Primer for Coastal & Inland Sailors -- 2:15 to 3:15 pm
  • Doppler Weather Radar: A Sailor's Best Friend -- 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Click here for more information.


January 12, 2019
Chicago Boat, Sail & RV Show

  • Weather Apps -- 1:00 to 2:00 pm
  • Demystifying The Wind -- 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Click here for more information.


January 13, 2019
Creating Your Chicago-Mac Forecast: A Workshop For Sailors
Chicago Boat, Sail & RV Show
McCormick Place
Chicago, IL

Click here for more information.


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

Click here for more information.


February 26, March 5, 12, & 19, 2019
Great Lakes Cruising Club Weather Savvy Mariner Webinar Series
Online Webinars

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March 6, 13 , & 20, 2019
Weather Savvy Wednesdays
Edgewater Yacht Club
Cleveland, OH

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March 9, 2019
Great Lakes Basic Marine Weather Forecasting
Columbia Yacht Club
Chicago, IL

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April 27 & 28, 2019
Marine Weather Forecasting - Two Day Masters Class
Cruisers University-Annapolis Boat Shows
Annapolis, Maryland
Click here to register at Cruisers University.
Click here for additional information on the seminar.

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

Click here for more testimonials.