Boating on the Great Lakes requires many skills. Whether you are a sailor 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 four-part webinar series, 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.

What you can expect to learn from the webinar series:

  • 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.


Seminar Outline

  • Week One - February 20, 2024
    • Basic Meteorological Principles
    • Translating Surface Weather Maps
  • Week Two - February 27, 2024
    • Forces Controlling the Wind
    • Doppler Weather Radar
  • Week Three - March 5, 2024
    • High and Low Pressure Systems
  • Week Four - March 12, 2024
    • Thunderstorms
    • Creating A Daily Forecast Routine
Online webinars at GLCC School

February 20, February 27, March 5 & March 12, 2024

8:00 pm to 9:30 pm, Eastern Time

Free to GLCC Members. $60 for non-GLCC members.

Please send questions regarding the series to Mark Thornton at Please click here to view the speaker's biography.

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 Bayview Mackinac Race since 2014. Mark is also employed as a Teaching Assistant in the Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting Program at Penn State University.