Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. How to access Webcast?
2. Can you send forecasts to a DeLorme InReach ?
3. SSB Nets schedule / coverage
4. Our Services
5. Notes
6. Support Request, by email or website
7. Support Requests - more info
8. Unable to Transmit on SSB? That's OK, I can broadcast your forecast!
9. Why is your forecast different from forecasts from other sources?
10. What areas are covered in Regional Daily Email forecasts?
11. What is the "<" symbol in my email forecast
12. What is "N ROUTE" and "S ROUTE" in my email forecast?
13. Regional Daily Email forecast Primer - Bahamas
14. Regional Daily Email forecast Primer - E Caribbean
15. Regional Daily Email forecast Primer - W Caribbean
16. I have stopped receiving email forecasts, even though my subscription is current
17. What methods of payment are accepted?
18. I'm not getting email forecasts I signed-up for.
19. Is your website secure?
20. How can I receive my forecast?
21. Can you email me a copy of an old forecast / forecast for a previous day?
22. Custom (vessel-specific) forecasts by Email
23. I'm on a long passage. How much will Custom (vessel-specific) email forecasts cost?
24. I want a Custom forecast by email. How do you decide when to send the forecast?
25. What if weather is no good?
26. How do I order another forecast?
27. Will you monitor the weather and contact us if things change?
28. I'm on passage, and want a forecast emailed to me each day, can you do that?
29. How often should I request a new Custom Email forecast?
30. Can you give me a waypoint to head toward?
31. Sharing forecasts with others
32. Position Reports
33. Do you provide service for vessels Crossing the Atlantic?
34. How do I use your service on my upcoming ocean voyage?
35. How do I use your service for Cruising the US E Coast and Bahamas/Caribbean?
36. I purchased a package of 10 pre-paid forecasts. How do I get a forecast?
37. Pacific Ocean - do you provide forecasts, or know someone who does?
38. Is your book, Coastal & Offshore Weather, the Essential Handbook, available as an E-Book?
39. Evening SSB Nets?
40. DeLorme InReach / Garmin Explorer?



1. How to access Webcast?
You can participate in interactive, real-time SSB Voice Nets from almost any Internet-connected device.

Login to your account here:

https://mwxc.com/client_login.php

With your username & password

Once logged-in to your account at mwxc.com, click one of the 2 "WEBCAST" links in the upper-right area of the screen.

Link takes you to appropriate Greenlight Collaboration meeting "waiting room".

"LOW-BANDWIDTH" Webcasts stream:
--my voice and SSB Net audio
--allows you to text questions

--this is in FLASH format, so may not work on some iPhones/iPads, unless you use a FLASH workaround (see below).
If you are using an Apple mobile device (and in some cases on an Android device) you will need to use the "Puffin" web browser (it's free).

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/puffin-web-browser/id472937654?mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cloudmosa.puffinFree&hl=en

To ENTER/START Webcast:
Type "Your Name" then click "Join"
Password is pre-filled by the link, no need to change it

Three tricks:
1. make sure you select to view the "desktop site" version of the website (formatting for the "mobile version" is poor). When first installing Puffin, you will be asked whether you want to view "desktop" or "mobile" versions of website. If you want to change this option later, you can find it by clicking the symbol with 3 horizontal lines in the upper-right corner of the browser.

2. When connecting, you will be asked "How do you want to join the audio"? You should answer "MICROPHONE". This is a bug in Greenlight Collaboration. After we see you connected, we will mute your microphone...but unless you enable your microphone you may not hear the audio.

3. to access the keyboard for typing questions, you'll click the symbol with 3 horizontal lines in the upper-right corner of the browser.


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"HIGH BANDWIDTH" Webcasts stream:
--my Computer Desktop (you can see the weather details I'm describing)
--my voice & Webcam, and SSB Net audio
--allows you to text questions

--There is no native support for Flash on iOS devices, but here's a workaround for iPad/iPhone:
There are many solutions for viewing FLASH content on iPads/iPhones. Feel free to try others, but I have had great success with "Photon" web browser.

Purchase for $4.99 from iTunes store (I have NO relationship with the developer, and receive NO kickback). Open "Photon" browser, and login to your account as above. Preferably, BEFORE you select which Webcast to enter, click the "Lightning Bolt" icon (upper-right corner of Browser screen) to enter FLASH mode.

Hints:
Click the "Click to Join" meeting link, and you'll enter the meeting room.
--if you want to type a question, click the box into which you want to enter text, then press the "Keyboard" icon on the navigation bar at the top of the screen. To make keyboard vanish, press this icon again.
--Photon nicely displays the ENTIRE screen I send - just scroll around to view different parts of the screen.
--use the "Settings" cog-wheel icon to select Bandwidth and other options.
--to access other TABS you have open, click the odd "diagonal-shaped pennant and + sign" icon to the left of the address box.

To ENTER:
Type "Your Name" and "E-mail", then pres ENTER
2. Can you send forecasts to a DeLorme InReach ?
YES!
Simply message us from your DeLorme InReach / Garmin Explorer to:

chris@mwxc.com

and include your:
1. location, course, speed (location should be inserted automatically by InReach, but this does not always happen)
2. wind/sea conditions
3. ask a question, so we can provide the most useful information to aid your decision making

We'll text back your answer/forecast.

Forecasts are $30 each, or $250 for a package of 10, good for 1 year.

You can sign-up by clicking any of the orange "sign-up" links on the website www.mwxc.com then selecting a single phone-in forecast ($30) or a package of (10) for $250. You can use these forecasts by phone or InReach (mix-and-match).
3. SSB Nets schedule / coverage
https://www.mwxc.com/marine_weather_services.php
4. Our Services
We provide high-value-added weather forecasts and routing advice, typically to small sail and power vessels, via SSB Voice Nets, voice telephone, email, SMS text messaging, or any combination.

We cover not only the Caribbean and Bahamas, but US E Coast, Gulf Of Mexico, and the entire Atlantic (Canadian Maritimes, Bermuda, Azores, Canaries, to/from Europe), and in the Pacific we focus on SanDiego-Mexico-C America-Ecuador-Galapagos-Marquesas.

Services:
SSB Nets $199/yr or $99/mo, includes unlimited Daily contact, as often as 6 Days/week. You hail me when you want a forecast and routing advice, there is no daily check-in requirement. This is a custom forecast, just for you, and we can discuss weather and routing as much as you wish. Includes simultaneous interactive Internet Webcasts and recorded forecasts.

Regional Daily Email forecasts $199/yr, $99 for 3 mo, $55/mo, is a regional forecast including travel suggestions and should give you the information you need to make good decisions when moving along the Islands. Is NOT geared for offshore passagemaking (away from the Islands / US Coast), and does NOT include vessel-specific forecasts.

BOTH of the above $299/yr or $129/mo

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Custom (vessel-specific forecasts and routing advice): The SSB Nets above are also Custom forecasts. Custom forecasts via voice telephone, SMS message, or Email are as follows:

Best deal is 10 prepaid forecast credits for $250 may be used as follows (but you may purchase individual forecasts):

phone-in or SMS message ($30/call or 1 forecast credit)
email Detailed 5-day forecast ($65 or 2 forecast credits)
email Detailed 2-day forecast ($35 or 1 forecast credit)
email General 10-day Outlook ($35 or 1 forecast credit)

To purchase any of the above: visit www.mwxc.com and click any orange "sign-up" link, then complete and submit the form. Your order will process in real time and you will receive an automated confirmation email. If not, please call 863-248-2702 to place or troubleshoot your order.
5. Notes
Each time I have contact with a client, I make a NOTE in the database. I can elect to email that NOTE to all email addresses you have selected to receive emails/notes/support.

This works well to email you a brief note if I think you have not copied me well on the SSB Voice Nets, or if you have family back home wanting to know where you are, etc.

If you want me to email NOTEs every time I make one, please let me know (they'd be emailed to all addresses set to receive email/notes/support).
6. Support Request, by email or website
When you email me at support@mwxc.com my system searches the database for client records matching your email address, then tells me when I need to answer your email.

IMPORTANT: the email address in the "From" or "Reply-To" fields of your support request should match an email address in your client record at mwxc.com (questions from existing clients are given priority, and if the system can't match From/Reply-to to your client record, it will assume you are not a client).

The Subject Line of your Support Request MUST contain 3 items (4th is optional):

1. Priority (H, M, L) corresponding to high (you must have an answer) / medium (you would really appreciate an answer) / low (I should answer you only if I have ample time).

2. Date, for example: 05-Dec-2011
Format of date can be:
US standard DD/MM/YY or YYYY (for example 12/5/11)
my preferred format above DD-Month-YY or YYYY (05-Dec-2011)
or even Month DD, YY or YYYY (Dec 5, 2011)

3. Time, in even hours EST/EDT for example: 1700 (1700 hrs EST/EDT)

4. (Optional but suggested) brief text subject, for example: when should I tack

Each item should be separated by a comma. So, the subject line for the above request would look like this:

H, 12/5/11, 1700, when should I tack

NOTE: Weather-related questions should be answered as late as possible, so I can base my answer on the best possible information - while still giving you time to retrieve my answer and incorporate my answer into your plans.

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When you follow the above protocol, here's what happens:
--Your support request appears on my computer, in the proper order so I have the best chance to answer all support requests from existing clients in a timely manner.
--All interactions I have with you, including this support request, are contained in your client record, so I have all your information whenever we interact.
--I provide you with the best possible answer to your question at the optimum time.

Follow-up questions:
If you send a follow-up Support Request, you may remove the old message body (to reduce email size). Within the subject line, you may adjust Priority, Date, Time...but do NOT alter or remove the xxxxx-xxxxx Support Ticket number.

If you have Internet access, you can login to your account at mwxc.com then enter your Support Request from your Client Panel or the Contact page - these are handled in the same manner as email requests.

You can still use the chris@mwxc.com email address for general correspondence, but if you require an answer, I will get you that answer better and faster if you email questions to: support@mwxc.com

When I am on vacation and Ed Bilicki fills in for me, Ed will receive and respond to Support Requests sent to support@mwxc.com (and entered on the website) just as I do.
7. Support Requests - more info
Support Requests emailed to support@mwxc.com are the BEST way for all clients to get useful and timely answers from me on both weather-related and account-related questions.

We've fine-tuned the Support Request feature, as follows:

Requests submitted WITHOUT suggested SUBJECT LINE are now treated as requiring an answer immediately. Previously, they were treated as non-critical requests.

Further discussion...
For best service, please include the following in the SUBJECT LINE of your email to support@mwxc.com :

Priority (H, M, L for high, medium, low), Date-answer-required (any date format you like, but note xx/xx/xxxx will be read as mm/dd/yyyy), Time-answer-required (in hours EST), Subject

Each separated by a COMMA...for instance:

H, 1/14/2012, 1600, when should I cross Anegada Passage

The above request will be treated as critical (High priority), and I'll make every effort to answer it no later than Jan 14, 2012 at 1600 hours EST.

By including the above in your SUBJECT LINE, I will be able to get you the best possible answer at the most-appropriate time.

If you do NOT include the above information in your SUBJECT LINE, then I will have to guess when I should respond.

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When replying to (or re-opening) a Support Request, please enter your reply text BELOW the appropriate line...

OR

DELETE ALL of the message body except for the new text you're sending.

If you simply add your text to the BEGINNING of the email, my system will NOT display the text for me.

I hope the Support Request feature, and other current (and planned) features make Marine Weather Center an even-more-valuable resource when you're Cruising. Thank you for your continuing support!...Chris.
8. Unable to Transmit on SSB? That's OK, I can broadcast your forecast!
If you're unable to transmit on SSB (or I'm consistently unable to hear you when you do), we can still transmit your forecast on the SSB Voice Nets (usually right after the Synopsis), if you do the following:

Email

support@mwxc.com

1. Your email should have the following in the SUBJECT LINE:

H, 1/25/2012, 0600, Transmit forecast on SSB Net

Where H is the priority (high)
1/25/2012 is the date you want me to BEGIN broadcasting the forecast
0600 is the time (important that it's 0600 so I see it 1st thing in the morning)
Transmit forecast on SSB Net tells me what you need

2. in the MESSAGE BODY your:

a. vessel name
b. location
c. Plan (i.e. where you're going, when, and anything else I should know)
d. the SSB Net on which you'd like me to broadcast your forecast

Alternatively, you can ask another vessel to hail me with the above information, or you can call me ahead of time with the above information, at 863-248-2702, and I'll broadcast your forecast as requested.

It's best if you update the above information as frequently as possible, by any means possible.
If I'm broadcasting your forecast over a number of days, please close-the-loop by telling me when I can stop broadcasting your forecast.
9. Why is your forecast different from forecasts from other sources?
I employ a unique methodology, which I call the "worst likely scenario". When preparing your forecast, I consider what might happen, and include in the forecast details for the worst of the plausible scenarios.

This differs from other forecasts, which give you the most-likely scenario.
10. What areas are covered in Regional Daily Email forecasts?
3 Regions available:
E Caribbean (E of 72W)
Bahamas/W Atlantic/US E Coast (as far N as Southern NewEngland in summer)
W Caribbean (W of 72W)
11. What is the "<" symbol in my email forecast
The < symbol indicates a change in conditions over the relevant time period. Read "<" as "becoming".

"240@18<15 this afternoon" means wind will be 240-degrees, starting this afternoon at 18k and becoming 15k.
12. What is "N ROUTE" and "S ROUTE" in my email forecast?
The Bahamas Regional Email forecast offers specific forecast and recommendations on the GulfStream between:

FtPierce / LkWorth - to - MantanillaShola / MemoryRock / WEnd (N ROUTE)

Miami / FtLaud / KyLargo - to - Bimini / S RidingRk / GtBahamaBk (S ROUTE)
13. Regional Daily Email forecast Primer - Bahamas


I try to choose my words carefully. I am as specific as I can be. If I speak about something in general terms, or impacting a general area, it means I don’t have sufficient information to make a more-specific guess, and/or it applies throughout the area.

Forecast is in several parts:

1.) Recent observational data (may include satellite-derived winds (ASCAT, others), BUOYs, vessel observations). Observations generally start at one end of the forecast area and move logically to the other end, and focus on data which is “curated” by us as representative of conditions you’re likely experiencing now or in the recent past.

2.) Analysis of current satellite / RADAR imagery.

3.) Synopsis is weather features, sometimes with a general discussion of predicted conditions in some areas of the region. Synopsis is generally day-by-day for 5-7 days, but I’ll break it up differently as necessary.

4.) Outlook for 5-10 days, or as far into the future as I can make a guess.

5.) Specific forecasts for Precipitation (and squalls) / Winds / Seas. This is normally divided by weather-parameter (Precipitation first, then Wind, then Seas). One reason – if the forecast is wrong, you may see conditions similar to adjacent areas…so it’s useful for
you to be aware of the forecast for adjacent areas. Occasionally, I’ll break this section down by LOCATION, with each parameter (Precip, Wind, Seas) discussed by location.

More information on sections of the forecasts are below:

SYNOPSIS: We always CAPITALIZE weather features, so they stand out in the email. For more information/education, I suggest you start with my book, Coastal & Offshore Weather, the essential Handbook, available here:

https://www.mwxc.com/order_books.php

LO = low pressure system

2nd-ary LO = LO which forms along FRONT trailing from a LO, generally causing inclement weather to persist or worsen.

HI = high pressure system

RIDGE = flat, weak, high pressure system along an axis

TROF (and ColdFRONT / WarmFRONT) = flat, weak low pressure along an axis

2nd-ary FRONT = often a LO supports more than 1 ColdFRONT. 2nd-ary FRONT(s) reinforce the established flow.

WAVE = Tropical WAVE, a TROF in the Tropics usually accompanied by squalls. Most Tropical LOs (Tropical Storms / Hurricanes) develop along a WAVE…and generally do so at the “Apex” of WAVE. Apex is the point at which winds are generally stronger N of Apex / lighter S of Apex.

IMPULSE = Sometimes we have a piece of energy in the atmosphere which is not necessarily a LO (though it may become one). Maybe it’s an area along a TROF (or a ColdFRONT or a WarmFRONT) where there’s more wind / seas / squalls. Usually forecast models have a hard time with such small, weak areas of energy, so forecast details (and the evolution of the feature) are usually uncertain.
I think it’s important to address these areas of energy, and I think referring to it as an IMPULSE (of energy) is descriptive.
When we use this term, you should think about it as an area of more windy, squally weather, which might get worse, but the evolution of which is uncertain.

PRECIP – I usually discuss coverage (in order of increasing coverage: isolated / scattered / numerous or widespread). I also discuss character of precip (convergence can be nasty, but not severe, while convective has potential to be severe), and try to offer a guess as to wind anomalies in the precip – sometimes as wind speed “added to gradient wind”,
sometimes as total wind in squalls.

WIND – speed & direction, as follows: Direction: I usually give this in degrees TRUE. The forecast is NOT so accurate that you should really expect wind of 070-degrees to be from
070-degrees. My main reason for specifying 070-degrees is to offer you insight into the TREND in wind direction. 070-degrees is just about ENE. 060-degrees is ENE. A change from 070 to 060 suggests a BACKING TREND to the wind direction, rather than a forecast for those numbers specifically.

Speed: in kts. I usually only give a specific number, such as 18k. You should mentally “bracket” this – I’m not predicting a steady 18k – you should read this as 18k greater variance…in the case of 18k, you should interpret this as a forecast for 15-21k. If I say “gusty”, add another 20% for gusts, which would make the forecast for 18k & gusty = 15-25k.

Two reasons I give specific wind velocity, rather than brackets: 16k & 18k are both “15-20k”. 18k today & 16k tomorrow suggests a TREND of decreasing wind. TRENDS are very important in your decision-making. Also, it saves several characters – many clients receive forecasts on slow email connections, and every character we can shave off we do.

You may notice the < sign occasionally. It describes a trend. For instance 090@12<15 means 090-degree wind building from 12k to 15k during the applicable period.

Most weather forecasts from other sources give forecasts details for each day. However, weather is fluid and tends to evolve in some sort of a pattern or trend…and I feel it’s wrong to describe something like weather in discrete, arbitrary intervals.

Instead, when there are trends in conditions, our forecasts describe those trends over the time period during which the trend unfolds. For instance, some forecasts might say NE@12 Sun1, ENE@15 Mon2 and E@18 Tue3. But, if this is a gradual TREND, which unfolds at a steady progression, then it’s far more useful to say today starts at 040@10, and wind gradually, steadily increases & clocks to 100@20 by the end of Tue3. And the way we write this is 040@10<100@20 Sun1-Tue3.

The “<” symbol tells you we’re describing a TREND in conditions over the time we specify at the END of the phrase, and the “<” symbol should be read as the word BECOMING.

During some intervals, there’s no trend – just steady conditions, so in that case we would not note a trend.

In other cases, there’s some variability to conditions, but no clear trend, so we BRACKET the conditions, and often use CARDINAL directions, for example: SE-S@10-15. If there’s some sort of a repeating (i.e. diurnal) pattern, we try to be specific about its timing.

Let me reiterate that we describe the weather FIRST, and THEN tell you what timeframe those conditions will be in effect. Whether it’s squall activity, gradient wind, or seas, we generally explain what the weather will be like…THEN we tell you what time period will experience that sort of weather. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it meshes with describing trends. (In some extreme weather events the formatting will change, but it will be obvious, and we’ll note the non-standard formatting in the forecast).

All of the above actually helps you make better decisions based on the weather forecast, since you can see how & when the weather is evolving/trending (for better or worse).

REMEMBER TO CONSIDER WIND IN SQUALLS! My “wind” forecast is generally for wind in the absence of significant squalls. ALWAYS refer to the “PRECIP” forecast for wind in squalls!

SEAS – I give height, periodicity, and direction. Bahamas wind forecast gets so complex in winter…and many areas are even protected from wind-chop…that we just specify in the SEAS section of the forecast the higher of wind-chop or swell. But we do include wind-chop in GulfStream CROSSING forecast.

You can always estimate wind-chop yourself based on this rule-of-thumb: Wind blowing for more than an hour-or-so even over modest fetch, as long as depth does not restrict wave height, will be (or will be so steep it feels like):

10k = 2′
13k = 3′
15k = 4′
18k = 5′
20k = 6′
25k = 8′
30k = 10′

MISSING DATA…Let’s say you see the following forecast:

090@10/2′ Sun1, 12k/3′ Mon2; 100@13 Tue3.

There’s a direction missing from Mon2, and a wind-chop missing from Tue3. You should assume the missing data is UNCHANGED from the previous time (i.e. wind direction remains 090T on Mon2, and seas remain 3′ on Tue3).
6.) CROSSING – forecast between Florida & Bahamas, along N ROUTE (GreatSaleCay / MemoryRock / MantanillaShoal / WestEnd…to PalmBeach /LakeWorth / FtPierce), and S ROUTE (GreatBahamaBank / Bimini /SouthRidingRock…to FtLauderdale / Miami / KeyLargo).

7.) OTHER AREAS – this section varies by season:

KyW (Key West, in winter only)
CFL (Central Florida E Coast – CapeCanaveral area, year-round)
NFL-GA (North Florida-Georgia, year-round)
SC (South Carolina, not in winter)
NC (North Carolina – only portion of Coast from CpLookout to SouthCarolina border, not in winter)
Hatteras-to-Chesapeake (N-bound from CpLookout to ChesapeakeBayEntrance, Spring-Summer)
Chesapeake-to-Hatteras (similar but in reverse, only in Fall)
Chesapeake-to-S NewEngland (Chesapeake to BlockIsland/Newport, Late Spring-Summer)
S NewEngland-to-Chesapeake (similar but in reverse, only in late Summer-Fall)

GEOGRAPHY:
In discussions, I try to divide forecasts into the NW Bahamas (Abaco / N of Nassau / Berrys / N Andros / N Eluthera / GrandBahama / Bimini)…the C Bahamas (Exumas / S Andros / S Eluthera / CatIsland / LongIsland / Jumentos / Conception / SanSalvador)…and SE Bahamas (Crooked / Acklins, and all Islands S&E through the Turks & Caicos).

When giving the specific forecast, I try to zero in on popular Cruising grounds, typically Abaco (a reasonable proxy for the NW Bahamas); Exumas (a reasonable proxy for C Bahamas); SE Bahamas (a reasonable proxy for SE Bahamas and T&C). If conditions vary significantly within these areas, I’ll get more specific. I often have to break the C Bahamas into N Exumas (a reasonable proxy for Nassau / N Andros / Eluthera / Exumas to StanielCay) and S Exumas (a reasonable proxy for Exumas from StanielCay S-ward / CatIsland / LongIsland / Jumentos / Conception / SanSalvador / RumCay).

Occasionally I’ll reference other areas:
NE Part of C Bahamas = the Islands from Eluthera thru Cat-Conception-SanSalvador-Rum, and possibly LongIsland’s E Coast.

Extreme SE Bahamas = Turks and Caicos and GreatInaugua S-and-E.

N Part of SE Bahamas = Samana, Mayaguana, and possibly N parts of Crooked-Acklins and T&C.

SW Bahamas = Andros-CaySlBank

FLStraits = waters S of FLKeys toward Cuba

N Bahamas = Abaco-GrandBahama

If this does not answer all your questions about the forecasts, please
let me know…cheers…Chris.
14. Regional Daily Email forecast Primer - E Caribbean
TYPES of forecasts:
"EarlyBriefing" is sent each morning (90%+ of the time) in order to get you the information you need to make decisions about today.
Normal forecast usually arrives mid-day.
"InterimTropical" is issued for ALL REGIONS when significant Tropical weather is possible.
Other "Interim" emails may be issued for Earthquakes/Tsunamis or significant weather events or emergencies.
"Schedule" emails alert you to changes to Marine Weather Center operations.

Normal Forecasts are in 5 parts:

1.) Recent observational data (may include satellite-derived winds (ASCAT, others), BUOYs, vessel observations). Observations generally start at one end of the forecast area and move logically to the other end, and focus on data which is "curated" by us as representative of conditions you're likely experiencing now or in the recent past.

2.) Analysis of current satellite / RADAR imagery.

3.) Synopsis of weather features, sometimes with a general discussion of predicted conditions in some areas of the region. Synopsis is either by-area or day-by-day, depending on how I can best generalize the pattern.

Areas:
SE Caribbean typically Martinique-Trinidad.
NE Caribbean typically Dominica-Leewards-VI-PR (always S Coast of PR unless specified)
DR is always N Coast of DR unless specified
Venezuela is offshore Islands near 11N-12N (LosTestigos-LosRoques) unless specified
ABCs is Aruba-Bonaire-Curacao
NOTE: for locations near the boundary between areas, you should average conditions in the 2 areas. For instance, if you're transiting waters between StLucia-Guadeloupe, and I only give a forecast for SE Caribbean / NE Caribbean, then you'll average the 2 forecasts.
When conditions vary within an area, I'll usually break that area into smaller pieces.

4.) Outlook for 5-10 days, or as far into the future as I can make a guess.

5.) Specific forecasts for Precipitation (and squalls) / Winds / Seas.
This is normally divided by weather-parameter (Precipitation first, then Wind, then Seas). One reason for by=area: if the forecast is wrong, you may see conditions similar to adjacent areas...so it's useful for you to be aware of the forecast for adjacent areas. Occasionally (during significant weather events), I'll break this section down by LOCATION, with each parameter (Precip, Wind, Seas) discussed by location.

SYNOPSIS: We always CAPITALIZE weather features, so they stand out in the email. For more information/education, I suggest you start with my book, Coastal & Offshore Weather, the essential Handbook, available here:

https://www.mwxc.com/order_books.php

LO = low pressure system

2nd-ary LO = LO which forms along FRONT trailing from a LO, generally causing inclement weather to persist or worsen.

HI = high pressure system

RIDGE = flat, weak, high pressure system along an axis

TROF (and ColdFRONT / WarmFRONT) = flat, weak low pressure along an axis

2nd-ary FRONT = often a LO supports more than 1 ColdFRONT. 2nd-ary FRONT(s) reinforce the established flow.

WAVE = Tropical WAVE, a TROF in the Tropics usually accompanied by squalls. Most Tropical LOs (Tropical Storms / Hurricanes) develop along a WAVE...and generally do so at the "Apex" of WAVE. Apex is the point at which winds are generally stronger N of Apex / lighter S of Apex.

IMPULSE = Sometimes we have a piece of energy in the atmosphere which is not necessarily a LO (though it may become one). Maybe it's an area along a TROF (or a ColdFRONT or a WarmFRONT) where there's more wind / seas / squalls. Usually forecast models have a hard time with such small, weak areas of energy, so forecast details (and the evolution of the feature) are usually uncertain.
I think it's important to address these areas of energy, and I think referring to it as an IMPULSE (of energy) is descriptive.
When we use this term, you should think about it as an area of more windy, squally weather, which might get worse, but the evolution of which is uncertain.

PRECIP - I usually discuss coverage (in order of increasing coverage:
isolated / scattered / numerous or widespread). I also discuss character of precip (convergence can be nasty but not severe, while convective has potential to be severe), and try to offer a guess as to wind anomalies in the precip - sometimes as wind speed you should add to gradient wind (i.e. "5k enhanced wind"), sometimes as total wind in squalls (i.e. "to 30k").

WIND - speed & direction, as follows:
Direction: I usually give this in degrees TRUE. The forecast is NOT so accurate that you should really expect wind of 070-degrees to be from 070-degrees. My main reason for specifying 070-degrees is to offer you insight into the TREND in wind direction. 070-degrees is just about ENE. 060-degrees is ENE. A change from 070 to 060 suggests a BACKING TREND to the wind direction, rather than a forecast for those numbers specifically.

You may notice the < sign. You should read "<" as the word "becoming" - it describes a trend. For instance 090@12<15 means 090-degree wind building from 12k to 15k during the applicable period.

Speed: in kts. I usually only give a specific number, such as 18k. You should mentally "bracket" this ± 20%...in the case of 18k, you should interpret this as a forecast for 15-21k. "g" means "gusty". Forecast 18g23k means 18k sustained, gusting 23k. Of course, you'll bracket this, so you'll expect 15-21k sustained, gusting 19-27k.

Two reasons I give specific wind velocity, rather than brackets: 16k & 18k are both "15-20k". 18k today & 16k tomorrow suggests a TREND of decreasing wind. TRENDS are very important in your decision-making. Also, it saves several characters - many clients receive forecasts on slow email connections, and every character we can shave off we do.

During significant weather events, when I feel it's more important to convey the overall wind possibilities than to convey coverage of squalls, I'll sometimes use the letter "s" (for wind in squalls) in the wind forecast. For instance, 30g37s50k means 30k sustained wind, gusting 37k, squalls to 50k.

Most weather forecasts from other sources give forecasts details for each day. However, weather is fluid and tends to evolve in some sort of a pattern or trend...and I feel it's wrong to describe something like weather in discrete, arbitrary intervals.

Instead, when there are trends in conditions, our forecasts describe those trends over the time period during which the trend unfolds. For instance, some forecasts might say NE@12 Sun1, ENE@15 Mon2 and E@18 Tue3. But, if this is a gradual TREND, which unfolds at a steady progression, then it's far more useful to say today starts at 040@10, and wind gradually, steadily increases & clocks to 100@20 by the end of Tue3. And the way we write this is 040@10<100@20 Sun1-Tue3.

The "<" symbol tells you we're describing a TREND in conditions over the time we specify at the END of the phrase, and the "<" symbol should be read as the word BECOMING.

During some intervals, there's no trend - just steady conditions, so in that case we would not note a trend.

In other cases, there's some variability to conditions, but no clear trend, so we BRACKET the conditions, and often use CARDINAL directions, for example: SE-S@10-15. If there's some sort of a repeating (i.e. diurnal) pattern, we try to be specific about its timing.

Let me reiterate that we describe the weather FIRST, and THEN tell you what timeframe those conditions will be in effect. Whether it's squall activity, gradient wind, or seas, we generally explain what the weather will be like...THEN we tell you what time period will experience that sort of weather. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it meshes with describing trends. (In some extreme weather events the formatting will change, but it will be obvious, and we'll note the non-standard formatting in the forecast).

All of the above actually helps you make better decisions based on the weather forecast, since you can see how & when the weather is evolving/trending (for better or worse).

REMEMBER TO CONSIDER WIND IN SQUALLS! My "wind" forecast is generally for wind in the absence of significant squalls. ALWAYS refer to the "PRECIP" forecast for wind in squalls!

SEAS:
Wind-driven seas are given in the WIND forecast: following a "/" after the wind forecast (for instance 090@15/4' predicts 4' seas). These are generally wind-driven seas, and include seas resulting from locally-higher winds in any predicted squalls.

SWELLs are longer-interval, and in this separate section of the forecast.

Seas/swells are a bit messy to interpret. Forecast for seas assumes you're in deep water, and in an area completely exposed to the Ocean. Seas within the Islands of the Virgins will be lower - the extent to which they're lower depends on your location. Seas (and wind) between Islands in the Windward/Leewards are typically higher than over open waters (away from Islands)...and the Islands also bend wind & sea directions locally.

Again, my forecasts for wind & seas assumes you're in exposed areas, and away from the local effects imparted by Islands...

What you really care about is the ACCELERATION of motion of your vessel due to seas. By acceleration, I mean any change in motion versus what you'd have with flat calm seas.

6' seas with a 7-sec interval from the E will have a different impact on your vessel (seas will cause different acceleration) on a 30' sailboat versus a 50' sailboat...and different for any given boat if you're heading in a different direction, etc., etc.

But, IN GENERAL, seas with an interval much greater than 1-second-per-foot of height are swells. And swells are less-bad than wind-driven chop.

For instance, 6' seas with 6-sec interval is a wind-chop. 6' seas with 8-sec interval is a short-interval swells. 6' seas with a 12-sec interval are long-interval swells. Swells are less-steep, and, therefore, impart less acceleration on the vessel for a given height.

As for adding height...unless different wave trains PHASE, there's no need to add height. However, individual waves from each wave train DO PHASE. Think of it this way:

If you encounter the crest of an individual 6' NE swell at the same as you encounter the crest of an individual 6' E wind-driven wave, then the total height of the perfectly-phased wave will be close to 8-10' (about 50% larger).

Why?
Let's say you have a 6' wind-chop and no swell. The 6' wind-chop causes height of the ocean on which your vessel is floating at one instant in time to be 3' higher or 3' lower than the mean sea-level.

But if the crest of the 6' wind-chop occurs where the height of the sea is 3' above mean sea-level (because you're at the top of a swell)...then, at the top of the phased swell-and-chop, you're 6' above mean sea-level.

Since the wind-chop and swell are of different intervals, they are not likely to remain in-phase at the trough of that wave, so you're not likely to be lower than about 3-4' below mean sea-level at the trough...for a total height of 9-10' from crest-to-trough in the above example.

So, as a rule, when there is a swell and a wind-chop, I would add up-to-50% of wind-chop height to the swell to arrive at the total height of seas.

NOT all seas you encounter will be this high...
When there's only 1 wave-train, as many as 1-in-200 waves can be 50% higher than the significant sea height.
When there's a combination of wind-chop and swell, and especially when they're from different directions, SOME waves will phase (at-least partially) and cause many many more waves to be 50%+/- higher than the swell height.

Here's how I'd use my sea-state forecast in decision making:

Assess whether each wave train, by itself, is acceptable.

If so, then assess whether adding 50% of wind-chop height to the swell would be acceptable.

If so, then assess whether wave trains are from different directions, and, if so, assess whether the acceleration from DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS imparted on your vessel is acceptable (you're pushed in 1 direction by 1 wave, then immediately pushed in another direction by a wave from the other train).

When making decisions, bear in mind the direction you're traveling, and how your motion influences the apparent interval of seas (if you're traveling into the seas, you'll shorten their apparent interval / if traveling with seas, you'll lengthen their apparent interval (and thus lessen acceleration)).

MISSING DATA...Let's say you see the following forecast:

090@10/2' Sun1, 12k/3' Mon2; 100@13 Tue3.

There's a direction missing from Mon2, and a wind-chop missing from Tue3. You should assume the missing data is UNCHANGED from the previous time (i.e. wind direction remains 090T on Mon2, and seas remain 3' on Tue3).
--
Chris Parker

Weather Forecasting & Vessel Routing
Weather & Communications - Hardware, Software, Sales, Consulting, Books,
Seminars

www.mwxc.com
Marine Weather & Communications LLC (and dba Marine Weather Center)
5130 Medulla Rd
Lakeland FL 33811
ph 863-248-2702
fax 863-248-4666
15. Regional Daily Email forecast Primer - W Caribbean
I try to choose my words carefully. I am as specific as I can be. If I speak about something in general terms, or impacting a general area, it means I don’t have sufficient information to make a more-specific guess, and/or it applies throughout the area.

Forecast is in several parts:

1.) Recent observational data (may include satellite-derived winds (ASCAT, others), BUOYs, vessel observations). Observations generally start at one end of the forecast area and move logically to the other end, and focus on data which is “curated” by us as representative of conditions you’re likely experiencing now or in the recent past.

2.) Analysis of current satellite / RADAR imagery.

3.) Synopsis of weather features, sometimes with a general discussion of predicted conditions in some areas of the region.

4.) Specific forecasts for Precipitation (and squalls) / Winds / Seas. This is normally divided by weather-parameter (Precipitation first, then Wind, then Seas). One reason – if the forecast is wrong, you may see conditions similar to adjacent areas…so it’s useful for
you to be aware of the forecast for adjacent areas. Occasionally, I’ll break this section down by LOCATION, with each parameter (Precip, Wind, Seas) discussed by location.

SYNOPSIS: We always CAPITALIZE weather features, so they stand out in the email. For more information/education, I suggest you start with my book, Coastal & Offshore Weather, the essential Handbook, available here:

https://www.mwxc.com/order_books.php

LO = low pressure system

2nd-ary LO = LO which forms along FRONT trailing from a LO, generally causing inclement weather to persist or worsen.

HI = high pressure system

RIDGE = flat, weak, high pressure system along an axis

TROF (and ColdFRONT / WarmFRONT) = flat, weak low pressure along an axis

2nd-ary FRONT = often a LO supports more than 1 ColdFRONT. 2nd-ary FRONT(s) reinforce the established flow.

WAVE = Tropical WAVE, a TROF in the Tropics usually accompanied by squalls. Most Tropical LOs (Tropical Storms / Hurricanes) develop along a WAVE…and generally do so at the “Apex” of WAVE. Apex is the point at which winds are generally stronger N of Apex / lighter S of Apex.

IMPULSE = Sometimes we have a piece of energy in the atmosphere which is not necessarily a LO (though it may become one). Maybe it’s an area along a TROF (or a ColdFRONT or a WarmFRONT) where there’s more wind / seas / squalls. Usually forecast models have a hard time with such small, weak areas of energy, so forecast details (and the evolution of the feature) are usually uncertain.
I think it’s important to address these areas of energy, and I think referring to it as an IMPULSE (of energy) is descriptive.
When we use this term, you should think about it as an area of more windy, squally weather, which might get worse, but the evolution of which is uncertain.

PRECIP – I usually discuss coverage (in order of increasing coverage: isolated / scattered / numerous or widespread). I also discuss character of precip (convergence can be nasty, but not severe, while convective has potential to be severe), and try to offer a guess as to wind anomalies in the precip – sometimes as wind speed “added to gradient wind”,
sometimes as total wind in squalls.

WIND – speed & direction, as follows: Direction: I usually give this in degrees TRUE. The forecast is NOT so accurate that you should really expect wind of 070-degrees to be from
070-degrees. My main reason for specifying 070-degrees is to offer you insight into the TREND in wind direction. 070-degrees is just about ENE. 060-degrees is ENE. A change from 070 to 060 suggests a BACKING TREND to the wind direction, rather than a forecast for those numbers specifically.

Speed: in kts. I usually only give a specific number, such as 18k. You should mentally “bracket” this – I’m not predicting a steady 18k – you should read this as 18k greater variance…in the case of 18k, you should interpret this as a forecast for 15-21k. If I say “gusty”, add another 20% for gusts, which would make the forecast for 18k & gusty = 15-25k.

Two reasons I give specific wind velocity, rather than brackets: 16k &18k are both “15-20k”. 18k today & 16k tomorrow suggests a TREND of decreasing wind. TRENDS are very important in your decision-making. Also, it saves several characters – many clients receive forecasts on slow email connections, and every character we can shave off we do.

You may notice the < sign occasionally. It describes a trend. For instance 090@12<15 means 090-degree wind building from 12k to 15k during the applicable period.

Most weather forecasts from other sources give forecasts details for each day. However, weather is fluid and tends to evolve in some sort of a pattern or trend…and I feel it’s wrong to describe something like weather in discrete, arbitrary intervals.

Instead, when there are trends in conditions, our forecasts describe those trends over the time period during which the trend unfolds. For instance, some forecasts might say NE@12 Sun1, ENE@15 Mon2 and E@18 Tue3. But, if this is a gradual TREND, which unfolds at a steady progression, then it’s far more useful to say today starts at 040@10, and wind gradually, steadily increases & clocks to 100@20 by the end of Tue3. And the way we write this is 040@10<100@20 Sun1-Tue3.

The “<” symbol tells you we’re describing a TREND in conditions over the time we specify at the END of the phrase, and the “<” symbol should be read as the word BECOMING.

During some intervals, there’s no trend – just steady conditions, so in that case we would not note a trend.

In other cases, there’s some variability to conditions, but no clear trend, so we BRACKET the conditions, and often use CARDINAL directions, for example: SE-S@10-15. If there’s some sort of a repeating (i.e. diurnal) pattern, we try to be specific about its timing.

Let me reiterate that we describe the weather FIRST, and THEN tell you what timeframe those conditions will be in effect. Whether it’s squall activity, gradient wind, or seas, we generally explain what the weather will be like…THEN we tell you what time period will experience that sort of weather. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it meshes with describing trends. (In some extreme weather events the formatting will change, but it will be obvious, and we’ll note the non-standard formatting in the forecast).

All of the above actually helps you make better decisions based on the weather forecast, since you can see how & when the weather is evolving/trending (for better or worse).

REMEMBER TO CONSIDER WIND IN SQUALLS! My “wind” forecast is generally for wind in the absence of significant squalls. ALWAYS refer to the “PRECIP” forecast for wind in squalls!

SEAS – Wind-driven seas are in teh WIND section of forecast: following a “/” after the wind forecast (for instance 090@15/4′ predicts 4′ seas). These are generally wind-driven seas, and include seas attributable to locally-higher winds in any predicted squalls.

SWELLs are longer-interval, and in this separate section of the forecast. I give height, periodicity, and direction.

How should you interpret wind-chop & swell? You should neither add the two nor just look at the largest sea. The real answer is inbetween – generally take the larger sea & add half of the smaller sea to get the total height. Each vessel responds to different seas in a different manner. If you know what’s out there, you can make an educated guess about how your vessel will respond.
GEOGRAPHY:
* *
For vessels transiting ColombianCoast…
Very briefly…when Trade winds are in place, semi-permanent LO over Colombia causes large compression zone with strong wind. Though this zone moves, it’s typically 20-120 mi from shore, between 74W-76W (but it often penetrates all the way to the Coast from the SantaMarta area to 11N/76W), and I try to accurately gauge the strongest of these winds as the “wind-maxima” (I predict sustained wind – gusts will be higher). Winds within 20 miles of the Coast between 72W-74W tend to be lighter, and may vary in a day/night diurnal pattern, and are hard for me to gauge.
* *
For vessels transiting from Cartagena to the SanBlas area…
WIND: for conditions on your departure, refer to the “Just SW of Cartagena area” part of the “Colombia” forecast. For conditions toward your arrival, refer to “E Panama”. S of Cartagena winds are often lighter & more variable in direction (see below).
SEAS:
The 1st forecast given for SW Caribbean is a general forecast for seas offshore near 12N/78W…Coastal seas from Cartagena SW-ward may be somewhat-lower. I usually mention seas in “Coastal E Panama”, which probably better represent seas along most of the journey from Cartagena to SanBlas.
Precip:
This is broad-brushed…suggest you use the E Panama forecast, unless there’s detail in the Colombia area.
* *
From Cartagena S&W toward Colombia-Panama border…the forecast can vary considerably with areas toward 8N-9N frequently seeing lighter wind & more-likely with a tendency to be NW-N…and even S-W when this area is near-or-S-of the ITCZ. Conditions vary too-much from location-to-location to make a Regional Email Forecast useful. It’s probably more-useful to be aware of the overall weather pattern in this area, and assume conditions at a given location will change little from day-to-day, unless there’s a change to the overall pattern and/or location of the ITCZ.
* *
E Panama includes the SanBlas & adjacent areas, and W to the turn in the Coast toward Colon near 79-40W. NNE-NE Trades are typically-lighter toward Colon. W Panama includes BocasDelToro & adjacent areas. There is sometimes an ENE-to-WNW wind shift somewhere between Colon & BocasDelToro, but the location of this shift varies.
* *
P-S-A stands for Providencia-SanAndreas-AlbuquerqueCays, and adjacent reefs/islands (generally 12N-14N from 80W-82W).
* *
Honduras forecasts generally focus on the greater BayIslands area between 86W-87W. Conditions can vary greatly E of 85W, but this area is typically transited briefly.
* *
Conditions also vary from about 87W (sometimes including Utila) along Honduras to the RioDulce & S Belize…and I frequently mention this area as the “SW Corner of NW Caribbean”…where usually-lighter (sometimes W-N) wind varies greatly-by-location, making a forecast difficult.
* *
During periods of enhanced E-SE wind & also following a ColdFRONT, a large zone of enhanced wind often develops within 100mi N & E & sometimes NW of the BayIslands – I try to gauge this correctly, but sometimes it’s difficult to anticipate the onset of these enhanced winds which can effect vessels transiting offshore from Belize to the BayIslands, and often Guanaja, sometimes Roatan.
* *
ColdFRONTs typically lack much energy when they move thru NW (and SW) Caribbean, and clocking S-W wind is unusual (it’s more-common Mexico’sYucatan). Severe weather accompanying a FRONT is almost always due to tight gradient & convergence (often with some instability causing the most-severe squalls along FrontalTROF) as HI pressure establishes behind a FRONT – and this can be quite severe, with wind deviating from computer models – exceeding velocity & more W-N in direction (I try to gauge this correctly) – this is possibly due to cooler air funneling E-SE from BayOfCampechee and also S&E down the Yucatan landmass & E thru Honduras (sometimes onward S thru Nicaragua & CostaRica to W Panama), versus the milder Marine airmass. When a strong ColdFRONT passes, with clocking wind for Honduras, Panama and P-S-A should watch-out!
* *
Mexico forecast focuses on the IslaMujeres-Cozumel area, N of 20N. For S of 20N, average the Mexico & Belize forecasts in all respects, unless specified otherwise.
* *
Other areas (Jamaica / Caymans / Cuba / S Coast of Haiti & DomRep / offshore passage routes) are not frequented by Cruising vessels (except briefly in-transit), and are only covered briefly. Contact me for a Custom Forecast for these areas. N of Caribbean use Bahamas/W Atlantic forecast.
* *

MISSING DATA…Let’s say you see the following forecast:

090@10/2′ Sun1, 12k/3′ Mon2; 100@13 Tue3.

There’s a direction missing from Mon2, and a wind-chop missing from Tue3. You should assume the missing data is UNCHANGED from the previous time (i.e. wind direction remains 090T on Mon2, and seas remain 3′ on Tue3).
If you have any insights to contribute to this brief guide, please send them to me. Hope this helps…Chris.
16. I have stopped receiving email forecasts, even though my subscription is current
Email Service Providers attempt to limit SPAM by "blacklisting" servers which send a large percentage of emails which are undeliverable or whose recipients mark then as SPAM.

In an effort to make sure our server is not flagged as a Spamming server, we have a "gatekeeper" which prevents our server from sending email to an address which has previously flagged us as SPAM or has had any sort of email delivery problem (like an expired email account or a misspelled email address).

Solution: please email us, and we'll eliminate your email address from our email suppression system.
17. What methods of payment are accepted?
We accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.

If you strongly prefer to pay by check, please contact: chris@mwxc.com
18. I'm not getting email forecasts I signed-up for.
First, check settings on your account/subscription:
1. For all emails, make sure you have the appropriate address(es) selected to receive forecasts.
2. For Regional Daily Forecasts, do you have a current Subscription?
3. For Regional Daily Forecasts, make sure you have 1-or-more "Regions" selected.

If the above are correct and you're still not getting forecasts, then contact Chris Parker:
863-248-2702
chris@mwxc.com
support@mwxc.com

The following is a description of the likely culprit:

We have a "smart" email system (maybe too smart).

In this world overflowing with SPAM, the last thing a legitimate email sender wants is to be "blacklisted" as a spammer, or to have our SPAM SCORE so high that legitimate emails end-up getting automatically filtered into the recipient's SPAM folder.

Our system tries to prevent this in 2 ways:

1. If you ever (even once by mistake) flag an email from Marine Weather Center as SPAM, and your email service provider sends that information to our server, our server will never send you another email.

2. If an email to you ever bounces (is undeliverable) for any reason (you let an email address lapse, etc), our server will never send you another email.

In the above cases, even if our List Server follows your instructions to generate the email forecast, our email "Policeman" prevents our server from sending your forecast.

If you contact me, I can make our "Email Policeman" FORGET there was ever a problem delivering mail to you...and it should then allow email forecasts to pass to you.
19. Is your website secure?
Yes, mwxc.com website has a SSL 3.0 security certificate (notice the "https" on the sign-up form).

We follow credit card industry "best practices", and every 3 months we re-verify "PCI-compliance".

Here's what happens when you make a payment on www.mwxc.com:

Our server checks the order for errors, and, if none, submits your information for payment authorization. The very second your payment is approved, your subscription is active (or your scheduled product is on the schedule).

CREDIT CARD DETAILS: our server only acts as a conduit, establishing a secure Internet connection with ePN processing network, which only acts as a conduit to pass your credit card information to the appropriate Card Network (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover). This Card Network verifies information with the bank which issued your credit card, and either approves or declines the transaction in realtime. Later that night, the Card Network "settles" the transaction with the Bank which issued your card, and pays ePN, who then pays Marine Weather Center.

Neither the www.mwxc.com website nor ePN ever store your entire credit card number.

Instead, we store the last 4 digits and expiration date. We also store a unique code which the Card Network assigns to purchases by you at Marine Weather Center.

When you renew, or purchase additional weather services with the same card you used previously, we submit to the Card Network the last 4 digits of your credit card, the expiration month/year, and the unique code, and the transaction processes just as if a full credit card number was submitted.

The benefits for you and us are:
1. Neither Marine Weather Center nor our Merchant Processing Company (ePN) ever store your full credit card number.

2. The "unique code" provided to us by the Card Network is password protected. But even if it were obtained fraudulently, it would only work to approve transactions for which payment would come to Marine Weather Center (so it would be of no use to a criminal).

While this is no guarantee your data is 100% secure, it is as secure at www.mwxc.com as it is on the Internet's other "most-secure" websites.
20. How can I receive my forecast?
Via ANY communications capabilities beyond VHF radio. Basically, if you can communicate with the outside world beyond VHF range, you can receive our forecasts. Methods include: email, phone, fax, and SSB radio voice nets.
21. Can you email me a copy of an old forecast / forecast for a previous day?
Actually, you can retrieve ANY email forecast which was sent to you since April 15, 2011.
Login to your account, then click "View/Search All Regional Forecasts"

We are working on allowing access to email forecasts since April 15, 2011, for Regions which were not sent to you, and for any periods for which you were not a subscriber...if you need one of these, please email chris@mwxc.com
22. Custom (vessel-specific) forecasts by Email
Many clients use our Custom (vessel-specific) email forecasts.

Forecast (except general 10-day Outlook) generally includes:
1. summary of current weather and sea conditions
2. SYNOPSIS of major weather features and their expected influence on you
3. analysis of and optimized routing based on Sea Surface Currents
4. Detailed forecast of wind speed and direction; estimate of wind in squalls; and height, direction and interval of both swells and wind-driven seas - all every 12-hours out to 2-days or 5-days, with more-granularity to time intervals near significant weather events.
5. suggested TACTICS you may wish to employ to optimize your trip, given the expected conditions at each 12-hour interval.
6. suggest when you may want to request your next forecast Update

You can order the initial forecast on the website www.mwxc.com or by phone or email.

Forecasts can be charged to your credit card as you request them, or you can purchase a package of forecasts in advance, as follows:

--Detailed 5-day forecast and routing advice with 10-day Outlook $65
--Detailed 2-day forecast and routing advice $35
--General 10-day Outlook $35 (useful for ensuring vessels on long passages are maintaining the best route for the overall weather pattern, while the vessel handles their own day-to-day forecasting)
--Package of (10) Custom forecasts for $250 (each $35 forecast or $30 phone-in forecast will count as one (1) forecast / each $65 forecast counts as two (2) of your ten (10) forecasts).

TO REQUEST SUBSEQUENT FORECASTS:

email me in the morning with the following, and I'll email your forecast later in the day:

1. your Location, course and speed
2. weather and sea conditions
3. your PLAN (and anything else I should know when preparing your forecast)
4. type of forecast you're requesting:
--5-day forecast $65
--2-day forecast $35
--general 10-day Outlook $35

Schedule your 1st forecast for 1-2 days before your earliest intended departure.

I'll contact you within 24hrs before sending the forecast to confirm favorable weather for your departure. If conditions are not favorable for departure, I'll continue monitoring weather (and communicating with you every couple days) until there's a suitable departure opportunity. So the 1st forecast includes a Departure Window recommendation.
23. I'm on a long passage. How much will Custom (vessel-specific) email forecasts cost?
Cost varies depending on how self-reliant you are, and how bad or changeable weather conditions are.

Some self-reliant folks cross the Atlantic with just 3 or 4 "general 10-day Outlooks" and one or two "2-day forecasts" when there's a significant upcoming weather event. Forecasts for their entire Atlantic crossing can be $100-or-so.

Other folks prefer more input from me on their forecasting and routing. Most folks request about $100 of forecasts each week on extended offshore passages.
24. I want a Custom forecast by email. How do you decide when to send the forecast?
When you order your initial Custom email forecast, please schedule it for 1-3 days before your 1st possible departure date. You will want to schedule the forecast for the day on which you will begin to make final departure preparations/decisions.

On the day you schedule, I'll look at your request, and assess the weather situation, and read any NOTES you've made on the order. Then I will contact you (by email or phone) to confirm when you'll be ready to depart, and that the weather looks good.

If you are not ready to depart, or the weather is not good, then we'll re-schedule an assessment for 1-2 days later...and we'll keep doing this until you're ready to go and the weather is good.

The forecast is a single forecast (for 2 days or 5 days, whichever you choose). To order additional forecasts:
If you want a forecast by phone ($30 or 1 forecast credit), call 863-248-2702, after 10am EDT/AST

When you want another email forecast, please email me the following in the morning and I will email your forecast later in the day:

#1: your location / course / speed
#2: weather / sea conditions
#3: your PLAN, and anything I should know when creating your forecast, as well as any specific questions I should answer
#4: REQUEST that I email you one of the following forecasts:
a: detailed 5-day forecast ($65 or 2 forecast credits)
b. Detailed 2-day forecast ($35 or 1 forecast credit)
c. General 10-day Outlook ($35 or 1 forecast credit)

(A "forecast credit" is 1 of your 10 prepaid forecasts if you purchased a 10-pack of forecasts for $250).
25. What if weather is no good?
On the day before your forecast is due (2 days prior to your earliest departure date), if conditions do not look acceptable, I'll contact you by phone or email to re-schedule your forecast.

I'll continue doing this as many times as necessary to identify a departure opportunity you deem acceptable.

Of course, once we agree I should send you the detailed forecast, and I send the forecast, if you later decide not to go, the order will still be considered to be completed.
26. How do I order another forecast?
If you want a forecast by phone ($30 or 1 forecast credit), call 863-248-2702, after 10am EDT/AST

SMS message (including Garmin Explorer / DeLorme InReach): send to chris@mwxc.com (or, if you must send to a phone number, use 941-915-7608). Be sure to ask a specific question, so as can be sure to provide the best answer in the constraints of SMS messaging. Cost is same as a phone call.

When you want an email forecast, please email me the following in the morning and I will email your forecast later in the day (we can also schedule these in advance):

#1: your location / course / speed
#2: weather / sea conditions
#3: your PLAN, and anything I should know when creating your forecast, as well as any specific questions I should answer
#4: REQUEST that I email you one of the following forecasts:
a: detailed 5-day forecast ($65 or 2 forecast credits)
b. Detailed 2-day forecast ($35 or 1 forecast credit)
c. General 10-day Outlook ($35 or 1 forecast credit)

(A "forecast credit" is 1 of your 10 prepaid forecasts if you purchased a 10-pack of forecasts for $250).
27. Will you monitor the weather and contact us if things change?
No. Some folks might object to a forecaster contacting them (and billing them) for a forecast when they don't need it. I have no shortage of work, and no desire to charge you for anything you don't feel you need.

INSTEAD, each forecast includes my recommendation on when you should contact me for another forecast. For instance, if there is a little ColdFRONT expected on Friday, and a small uncertainty in its track, I might suggest you email me for a forecast Thursday, so you have a day to make small alterations in course...if it's a major system and/or a major uncertainty and you might require more advance notice to make a bigger course change, then I might suggest you email me Wednesday or even Tuesday.

Although not every forecast verifies with 100% precision, each forecast includes a discussion of uncertainties / forecast confidence, and possibility for severe weather. Almost all forecasts which which require frequent revision do so because of uncertainties or potential for severe weather which we discussed previously.

You may also notice your weather conditions are beginning to deviate from the previous forecast, and you'll decide you want an earlier update.
28. I'm on passage, and want a forecast emailed to me each day, can you do that?
I'll be glad to email you a forecast each day.

However, I ask that you email me each morning you want a forecast with your:

1. location, course, speed
2. weather/sea conditions
3. PLAN, and anything else I should know when creating your forecast
4. REQUEST that I email you one of the following:
a: detailed 5-day forecast ($65 or 2 forecast credits)
b. Detailed 2-day forecast ($35 or 1 forecast credit)
c. General 10-day Outlook ($35 or 1 forecast credit)

(A "forecast credit" is 1 of your 10 prepaid forecasts if you purchased a 10-pack of forecasts for $250).

WHY DO I NOT JUST EMAIL FORECAST AUTOMATICALLY?:

My strong opinion is you need a weather forecast/routing advice in order to answer questions / make strategic decisions.

My forecast is NOT the "most likely scenario" you may get from other sources. Rather, it is the worst-plausible scenario for your situation, and I include routing and strategic advice/suggestions which you can use to optimize your passage.

Although I'm pretty good at guessing and pro-actively providing the answers to questions/decisions you may need to make, my forecasts will be FAR MORE USEFUL if they specifically address your:

a. overall PLAN
b. strategic discussions you've been having onboard
c. and if I take into account any vessel/crew issues you may be having

The only way I know this information, and can provide the best value-added forecast/routing advice is for you to email this information before I begin preparing your forecast.
29. How often should I request a new Custom Email forecast?
See the above answer for clues it's time to ask for another forecast.

In general, for extended offshore passages, clients request 2-3 forecasts per week.

I've worked with self-reliant folks who only needed 1 general 10-day outlook each week on their trans-Atlantic passage, to help ensure they were at about the optimum Latitude, and not at risk for a severe storm. These clients can cross the Atlantic on 4-5 forecasts for a total of $100-$150.

More typical is a client requesting 1 or 2 detailed 5-day forecasts per week, and 1 or 2 detailed 2-day forecasts the day before inclement weather...for a total of about $100-or-so per week.
30. Can you give me a waypoint to head toward?
Occasionally there's a good reason to aim for a specific waypoint, and, when this is the case, I'll give you a specific waypoint.

However, it is my strong opinion that clients are best served by sailing their vessel in a manner which is fast and comfortable, while heading basically in the right direction.

For instance, I had 2 clients heading from Florida to E Caribbean this week.

One seemed hell-bent on maintaining a due-E course in spite of strong SE wind, and he ignored or didn't understand my advice to sail "whatever course is comfortable basically to the NE-E". He got battered-up, turned around, and sailed 2 days back to Florida.

The other vessel was more-flexible, sailing generally NE-E, on a consistent beam reach in the brisk SE-S wind, and - he's now sailing nicely E-ward, with mild S wind and excellent prospects for a mild trip to E Caribbean with mild N wind next 2-3 days, before reaching NE-E Trades.

Again, there are situations where navigation is restricted, or where weather trends make sailing in a specific direction (and achieving a specific waypoint) imperative. More often, however, maintaining a comfortable sailing angle while going generally in the right direction is preferable.
31. Sharing forecasts with others
You are purchasing limited rights to use my intellectual property on your vessel and, unless you have my express permission, you may NOT redistribute, or cause to be redistributed, my forecasts for use on a vessel you are not physically on.

However, there are some ways you can share:

Feel free to put my forecast into your own words, and share this with others. Be sure you note it's your interpretation of my forecast. Sharing my words is NOT OK. Expressing your own words is fine, as long as people don't think they're my words.

If you believe sharing my forecast on a single occasion may motivate a potential new client to purchase my services, then it's OK to share MY WORDS on that one occasion. However, this is NOT OK on a recurring basis, or if you do not think there's a reasonable chance the sharing could prompt the person you're sharing with to purchase services.

32. Position Reports
Many vessels have the ability to send Position Reports, and I find these useful in several ways.

I established a special email address for receiving Position Reports from clients. Please send (or copy or blind copy) Position Reports to: spot@mwxc.com

In order to match the Position Report to a client (so I can provide better service to you), I need one of the following in the SUBJECT LINE of the Position Report:

A. whatever characters are in the "SSB Call Sign" field of your account at www.mwxc.com (this can be an SSB or Ham Call Sign - but NOT BOTH).

B. the 4-digit "SPOT Email Identifier" field of your account at www.mwxc.com (a 3 or 4 digit number unique to your vessel, assigned by my system, with a "#" symbol before & after the number).

To find either of the above, login to your account at www.mwxc.com (if you don't know your username/password, click "Retrieve Your Login Information" from the Login page, and my system will generate a new password and email it to you).

When my system receives a Position Report at spot@mwxc.com it attempts to match words in the SUBJECT LINE of the Position Report to the "SSB Call Sign" and "SPOT Email Identifier" fields of your Client Profile.

Once a match is made, your position is plotted on an interactive map I use to track clients and monitor real-time weather information. See the FAQ on Interactive Weather Map.

In addition, my system attempts to "parse" any weather observation details your Position Report may contain into numerical data, which it graphs for me, so I can see recent weather observation details throughout the area.

And my system displays (and I read) any additional text/comments from your Position Report.

Position Reports can be submitted by any combination of:

SPOT device from Glogalstar (Original SPOT, Spot Connect, SPOT G3), but the SPOT phone is just a phone, and not a position reporting device.

DeLorme InReach

WL2K

YOTREPS

Email via any method

Specific requirements for each are below.
33. Do you provide service for vessels Crossing the Atlantic?
Yes. I work with many vessels each year on both E-bound and W-bound Crossings of the Atlantic.

We can work via SSB Voice Nets, voice telephone, email, SMS text messaging, or any combination.

SSB Nets should work all the way to the Coast of Europe, depending on propagation and the quality of your radio installation.

No SSB? Many folks prefer email and/or voice telephone or have no SSB, so we can communicate via email and/or voice telephone or even SMS text messaging for any part of the trip.

Pricing:

SSB Nets $199, includes unlimited Daily contact, as often as 7 Days/week, but you just hail me when you want a forecast, there is no daily check-in requirement.

Forecasts by phone/email, as follows:
10 prepaid forecast credits for $250 may be used as follows:

phone-in ($25/call or 1 forecast credit)
email Detailed 5-day forecast ($65 or 2 forecast credits)
email Detailed 2-day forecast ($35 or 1 forecast credit)
email General 10-day Outlook ($35 or 1 forecast credit)

To purchase any of the above: visit www.mwxc.com and click any orange "sign-up" link, then complete and submit the form. Your order will process in real time and you will receive an automated confirmation email. If not, please call 863-248-2702 to place or troubleshoot your order.
34. How do I use your service on my upcoming ocean voyage?
We offer weather forecasting and routing advice via telephone, email, SMS message, SSB Radio, live interactive Internet Webcasts, and recorded forecasts. Basically, if you have any communications capability beyond VHF range, we can provide forecasts and routing advice!

SSB Voice (including simultaneous Internet Webcasts & recorded forecasts) is $99/mo or $199 for a year.
Add our Daily Regional EMail forecast for $100 for a total of $299/yr.

Alternatively (or in addition), we can work by voice telephone and/or email, as follows:

For some upcoming passages you may want a detailed 5-day email forecast prior to departure, then occasional vessel-specific email updates while underway. Order your initial 5-day email forecast anytime.

While underway, when you want a vessel-specific email forecast, please email me in the morning and I will email your forecast later in the day:

#1: your location / course / speed
#2: weather / sea conditions
#3: your PLAN, and anything I should know when creating your forecast, as well as any specific questions I should answer
#4: REQUEST that I email you one of the following forecasts:
a: detailed 5-day forecast ($65 or 2 forecast credits)
b. Detailed 2-day forecast ($35 or 1 forecast credit)
c. General 10-day Outlook ($35 or 1 forecast credit)

(A "forecast credit" is 1 of your 10 prepaid forecasts if you purchased a 10-pack of forecasts for $250).

If you want a forecast by phone ($30 or 1 forecast credit), call 863-248-2702, after 10am EDT/AST

You can purchase any/all of the above on my website www.mwxc.com (click any orange "sign-up" link, then complete and submit the form), or call me 863-248-2702 for assistance if you have questions...Chris
35. How do I use your service for Cruising the US E Coast and Bahamas/Caribbean?
We offer weather forecasting and routing advice via SSB Radio Voice, email and telephone.

Best value is probably SSB Voice is $99 for the trip or $199 for a year.

SSB Nets work very well when combined with our Regional Daily Email forecast (which is NOT "vessel-specific", but does include forecast details to support good decision-making on a small vessel in the Bahamas/Caribbean and making the Coastal migration N & S during the Spring/Fall respectively)...and also includes details on all Tropical systems. For instance, with Ana, Regional Daily Email forecasts mentioned the possibility of Ana 10 days ago, and beginning last Tuesday May 5, offered specific forecasts and guidance about where/when to avoid (I think about 48hrs before NOAA).

Regional Daily Email forecasts $55/mo, or $199/yr, or $100/yr when combined with SSB Nets.

*.*

Alternatively (or in addition), we can work by voice telephone and/or email (these take longer to prepare and therefore incur a per-forecast charge), as follows:

You might want a detailed 5-day email forecast prior to departure, then occasional updates while underway. Order your initial 5-day email forecast anytime.

While underway, when you want an email forecast, please email me in the morning and I will email your forecast later in the day:

#1: your location / course / speed
#2: weather / sea conditions
#3: your PLAN, and anything I should know when creating your forecast, as well as any specific questions I should answer
#4: REQUEST that I email you one of the following forecasts:
a: detailed 5-day forecast ($65 or 2 forecast credits)
b. Detailed 2-day forecast ($35 or 1 forecast credit)
c. General 10-day Outlook ($35 or 1 forecast credit)

(A "forecast credit" is 1 of your 10 prepaid forecasts if you purchased a 10-pack of forecasts for $250).

If you want a forecast by phone ($30 or 1 forecast credit), call 863-248-2702, after 10am EDT/AST

You can purchase any/all of the above on my website www.mwxc.com or call me for assistance if you have questions...Chris
36. I purchased a package of 10 pre-paid forecasts. How do I get a forecast?
You purchased 10 prepaid forecast credits. They can be used as follows:

You probably want a pre-departure detailed 5-day forecast . When you have some idea of the date you'll be ready to depart, please call or email me to schedule the initial forecast. I typically send forecasts the day prior to your departure. But if you need more pre-departure planning, I can schedule forecasts farther in advance.

When you want another email forecast, please email me the following in the morning and I will email your forecast later in the day:

#1: your location / course / speed
#2: weather / sea conditions
#3: your PLAN, and anything I should know when creating your forecast, as well as any specific questions I should answer
#4: REQUEST that I email you one of the following forecasts:
a: detailed 5-day forecast ($65 or 2 forecast credits)
b. Detailed 2-day forecast ($35 or 1 forecast credit)
c. General 10-day Outlook ($35 or 1 forecast credit)
d. If you want a forecast by phone ($30 or 1 forecast credit), call 863-248-2702, after 10am EDT/AST

(A "forecast credit" is 1 of your 10 prepaid forecasts if you purchased a 10-pack of forecasts for $250).

If you have questions, let , me know...Chris.
37. Pacific Ocean - do you provide forecasts, or know someone who does?
I provide weather forecasting & routing advice for the Pacific Coast of Central America, and adjacent waters, including:
Colombia & Ecuador, Galapagos, and Panama to SanDiego

Forecasts for this area are via SSB Voice Nets or Custom Email or phone-in forecasts (NO "Regional Daily Email forecasts").

If you're heading N of SanDiego, S of Ecuador, or W of the Galapagos, then I suggest you use a different resource.

For folks heading to the SouthPacific, there's Bob McDavitt:
http://weathergram.blogspot.com/
38. Is your book, Coastal & Offshore Weather, the Essential Handbook, available as an E-Book?
No, but I'll be glad to ship you a printed copy.

I spent hundreds of dollars having the book converted to a Kindle E-book, and the finished product was so bad I couldn't sell it.

Kindle is great for text-only books. But books heavy with images (as mine is) are a problem...and, if I spend thousands of dollars on a good Kindle rewrite (assuming that's even possible), Amazon's pricing model is such that I'll never get my money back.

E-books are great for high-volume, text-only books.

My experience is that it's horrible for graphics-heavy, low-volume books.
39. Evening SSB Nets?
Afternoon Net is at 2200 utc on 8.137 & 12.350 USB. When there's not a lot of traffic (July-April) we come on the air at 2200 utc, ask for Emergency/Priority traffic, then call for any Subscribing Vessels wanting weather info. We typically start in the W Caribbean (since that's where antennas were turned in on the last morning Net)...then work into Bahamas/E Caribbean...then waters N of Caribbean...then US E Coast & NW Atlantic.

All of this typically takes 15 minutes, then we're done...so there are no set times for pointing antenna in any direction.

During busy months for long-range passages to Europe (May-June) the evening Net may take an hour or more. When this happens, we come-up at 2145 and build a list of vessels with traffic for Marine Weather Center, then, at 2200 utc, we begin working the list of vessels with traffic - in the most logical order.

Propagation in the evenings is typically better (and longer) than mornings, and this Net is geared more to passagemaking than to vessels making day-hops, but it is open to any Subscribing Vessel. Also, Florida and areas within 100 miles of Florida are problematic because we skip over each other on 8-megs & 12-megs.
40. DeLorme InReach / Garmin Explorer?
We can get quite detailed.

Recently we sent the following detailed forecast for a vessel on passage via his InReach...this forecast took 5 InReach messages, but for short-term Coastal sailing we can usually keep it to 1-3 InReach messages and still convey a very good, specific forecast and advice.

We charge $30 per forecast or $250 for (10) forecasts, good for a year. Regardless how many messages it takes us to convey the information, we only charge you for 1 forecast:

*.*

You are getting into GulfStream, and there is NO PROBLEM with lying farther E than intended.
SUGGEST you try to maintain Course Over Ground 360T.

You will EXIT GulfStream along a LINE:
38N/68W
38-15N/67-40W
Once out of Stream, aim for SalemMA.
Tonight: 240@16-20g25, squalls/T-strms 30-40k, 6-9'.

It is OK if you sail whatever course is comfortable, even if that's slightly E-of-N in terms of Course Over Ground.

N of GulfStream Mon10: variable mostly S-SW@0-15, 2-4', you may need to motor/motorsail.
Mon10 night: becoming steadier 230@10-15g20, 2-4'
Tue11: 210@15<23g30k

Tue11 night: 230@23g30, 8'
Wed12: N of 42N falls L&V, motoring toward Salem.
Thu13: uncertain, IMPULSE or LO moves ENE from NewEng, but weather will be OK.

*.*

Purchase at www.mwxc.com by clicking any orange "sign-up" link, then complete and submit the form (you want the 10-pack of Custom phone-in forecasts for $250).