What’s the weather doing today?

Calm waters


Before getting out of bed in the morning the skipper checks the weather forecast to see if it is suitable boating weather using either the radio, a VHF handheld radio, checking the weather service on internet for the local area.


VHF Marine Radio:  CHANNEL 21 (Auckland area) Nowcasting
Maritime radio at 0133, 0533, 0733, 1033, 1333, 1733, 2133
InternetMetservice  http://www.metservice.co.nz
Metphone: 0900 999 09 – Auckland Region and Northland
(Calls cost NZ$1.30 including GST per minute, plus mobile rates if applicable.)

If BAD weather, then the choice is rolling over and going back to sleep or getting up and doing something else.

If GOOD weather, then jump out of bed and make last minute checks on everything that was packed the night before and left near the door, is ready, the thermos of tea/coffee is made, the water bottles filled and the food placed carefully.

Did I remember?

  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Light jacket
  • Boat shoes
  • Pocket Knife
  • Water

(Not the complete list of necessities but a start to make it a more comfortable trip)

The Skipper, that’s me today, I’m wearing my skipper hat, is in charge of the safety of the vessel, the safety of the passengers, of alerting someone ashore of ones intentions, checking the weather conditions and following the “rules of road” while at sea.

10 KNOTS means the wind varies between 5 and 15 knots.
10 knots is the AVERAGE.

STRONG winds: average 25 knots or more with GUSTS of more than 33 knots
SQUALL:  shower clouds,possibilty of a sudden brief GALE
GALE: AVERAGE winds exceed 33 KNOTS

A wind blowing AGAINST THE TIDE makes for STEEP and ROUGH seas.

A wind blowing WITH THE TIDE makes a SLIGHT sea.

Keep your wits about you when at sea and watch for:
Change in cloud formation
Change in wind strength and/or direction
Change in temperature

Photo: metservice.com

HIGH Pressure: stable weather, light winds, ANTI-CLOCKWISE wind
LOW Pressure: warm and cold fronts, wet and windy weather, CLOCKWISE wind

Today I made the executive decision to stay ashore. I think Australia should share the high pressure systems. All I can see are lows over New Zealand. Anything can happen. I will keep watching. Today I am learning patience.

I am more aware of the weather patterns now. I am more curious about cloud formations, tides, wind and weather maps. The stars and navigation, a new frontier. But I am getting ahead of myself again. For now I want to get my basic knowledge with the Day Skipper Course material.

Source: New Zealand Day Skipper Certificate Course


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