Ron’s “Highly Recommended” Weather Resources for Boaters

  • (updated Nov. 2014) –


Meteorology Books

Most of the books below can be bought at or you could go to or online to order them. Try to get the used copies they are much cheaper and usually in good shape – I have had great luck with buying used books.

I have all these books, have read them all, and I believe they are very good for all types of boaters. Just type in the book title in Google and see reviews, where to buy, and find the lowest price.

Listed below are my highly recommend books.



Meteorology Today 9th Ed.C.D Ahrens -This book is one of the most widely used and authoritative texts for the introductory meteorology course. Introductory stories draw you into the discussion, in-chapter reviews help you master concepts while you study, and end-of-chapter exercises provide opportunities for you to guage your understanding. See Nauticalmind, Chapters or Amazon websites for the best prices on new and used books


Wind, Weather & Waves

ByEnvironment Canada (hard to find)

First try then if they don’t have any in stock try -

The best book I have seen on Great Lakes weather and local effects. Many excellent cloud photos and illustrations. The book is filled with very specific examples and guidelines for mariners. This book is a very good practical guide to marine weather in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes present a challenge to boaters and this book will make you appreciate the importance of developing a keen weather sense.


The Weather Handbook,

By Alan Watts. Here is a book that explains how to accurately predict weather patterns-without the "aid" of TV forecasters-through common-sense observations of the clouds and wind and through clear-eyed readings of weather maps.

The book's many useful tips and rules-of-thumb-supplemented with color photos of clouds and illustrations of weather systems-are based on the latest meteorological advances, as well as centuries-old weather lore. Boaters, fishermen, hikers, or anyone who spends time outdoors will find this book an invaluable resource.

Subjects covered include: Cloud identification; How to read the wind; Interpreting weather maps; Predicting sea breezes and gales; The crossed-wind rule, and much more. A helpful glossary clarifies meteorological terms.


Weather at Sea

by David Houghton. This book clearly explains the basic principals that govern the weather. The concepts have been made easy to understand, letting you get the most from weather maps and forecasts, along with teaching you to predict the weather.


Heavy Weather Guide 2nd ed. , by Kotsch/Henderson,Naval Institute Press.ISBN 0-87021-263-X

This is the second, and extensively revised, edition of a book that was first published nearly twenty years ago but which has remained one of the classic texts in its field. A draw-back to the first edition was that it was awkwardly organized, but this new edition has a new format that improves the clarity and access immensely.

The book consists of two major sections: understanding severe marine weather and the art of seamanship in storm conditions.


Weather Maps (2nd ed.): How to Read and Interpret Wx Charts, by P.Chaston, (816) 628 4770


Practical Weather Forecastingby Frank Mitchell, Christie Barron’s Publishing


Mariner’s Weather Handbook, Steve & Linda Dashew, Beowulf Inc., ISBN 09658028-2-5 (Great Offshore Weather book)

Mariner's weather Handbook is one of the best books about marine weather outthere. Understand the constantly changing three-dimensional relationships between differing air masses and their fronts. Steve Dashew explains the world's weather in a systematic and logical progression that keeps you on the learning curve. With quotes and examples from leading meteorologists as well as his own experiences (over 100,000 miles under sail), Mr. Dashew explains the mechanics of the weather and the tools available to forecast it. More importantly for mariners, he details what the real concerns are during voyage planning and 'at sea'. Medium level understanding and somewhat technical.


Weather for the Mariner by Kotsch, Naval Institute Press,ISBN 0-87021-756-9 Understanding Weather Fax, by Mike Harris

This package enables offshore sailors to make their own forecasts based on observations of sky, barometer, sea state, and wind direction and speed, and then to make life-saving decisions based on those forecasts.


Weather For Sailors - by Bill Biewenga and edited by the meteorologists - 2nd ed. Designed to help sailors, cruisers and racers gather, understand and interpret weather information. This book contains a broad overview of weather and weather systems, which gradually narrows to specific wind and weather conditions consequently found aboard ship. The means of applying this information to voyages, races and cruising is also detailed.


Lightning and Boats: A Manual of Safety and Prevention (Paperback)

by Michael V., Jr. Huck (Author) – Great little book (~$10 US)


Coastal and Offshore Weather: The Essential Handbook

3rd ed. rev. By Chris Parker. Perfect for those who are getting started in marine weather. Parker covers weather dynamics, weather forecasts, interpreting weather, clouds and reading the sky, forecasting products and how to use them, including VHF, AM/FM radio, WeatherFax, SSB/Ham, HF modem products, satellite and cell phone, GRIBs, weather nets, and more.


Instant Weather Forecasting

By Alan Watts. 3rd ed. A photographic guide to forecasting the weather in the hours ahead. By comparing the sky to the 24 colour photos, the user can ascertain what the likely weather trends will be.


Instant Wind Forecasting

By Alan Watts. 2nd ed. A companion to the popular "Instant Weather Forecasting." Provides specialist knowledge in an easily accessible form so that predictions can be made based on the look of the sky, the feel of the day, and a set of tables.


Modern Marine Weather

By David Burch. A new, comprehensive text on how to take weather into account for the planning and navigation of voyages, local or global, using the latest technologies as well as the time-honored skills of maritime tradition, so that your time on the water remains as safe and efficient as possible.


The Barometer Handbook

By David Burch. A good barometer is the key to good weather work. Burch explains how to evaluate barometer readings, do a simple calibration using convenient online resources, and how to use accurate pressure readings for marine navigation. He includes monthly mean sea level pressures worldwide and their standard deviations. Love this book!!


On-Board Weather Handbook

By Chris Tibbs. A basic book on marine weather describing how to interprete wind, clouds, and barometer, and how to integrate these with official forecasts. Includes a chapter on weather routing. Another GEM!!


For the Racing Sailor


Sailors Wind by Stuart Walker

"The intent of this book is to explain why the air in which we sail behaves as it does." So begins Walker, who combines 60 years of sailing (more than 6,000 races) and teaching experience for an in-depth study of one of nature's greatest forces. Gradient winds and their variations (weekly, seasonal, offshore flow) and thermal winds (upslope, downslope, offshore, lake breeze) are covered equally in chapters that explore such topics as the offshore sea breezes of St. Petersburg, the mountain winds of New York's Finger Lakes, and the differences between thunderstorms and downbursts. Fundamental principles of physics are necessary to understand wind flows and can be intimidating; at first glance this looks like a classroom textbook, but Walker's explanations, supplemented by more than 100 drawings and many tables, provide a thorough--yet challenging--overview for sailors or anyone studying the physics associated with wind flow.

This book is really, really, really technical - I would start with some other basic books and then move onto this one later on. The Bible for the racing sailor.


Wind Strategy by David Houghton and Fiona Campbell

For nearly 20 years Wind Strategy has given sailors the answer to these questions and many more. It gives a set of basic principles so that you can predict the wind's behaviour virtually anywhere in the world. It shows how the wind will shift and bend over the relatively small area of the racecourse, and how it is modified by: The sea breeze,The land breeze, Gusts, Clouds

Cliffs, Other boats, Islands, The shore, Currents, Water temperature.

In short, Wind Strategy gives you the "local knowledge" you need to become a winner. Another more technical book for the seasoned racer.

Bible 2 for the racing sailor.



Magazines about the Weather


Weatherwise ~ $45 /year Weatherwise features fascinating articles and spectacular color photographs that showcase the power, beauty, and excitement of weather. Weatherwise articles present the latest discoveries and hottest issues in meteorology and climatology and focus on the relation of weather to technology, history, culture, art, and society. In each issue, our expert columnists answer reader questions about the weather; discuss current events and people in the news; review new weather-related books and videos; test reader forecast skills with analysis of weather maps; and summarize recent weather events in the United States and Canada.


Mariners Weather LogThe Mariners Weather Log (MWL), a publication of the National Weather Service (NWS), contains articles, news and information about marine weather events and phenomena, storms at sea, and weather forecasting


ON-Line Basic Weather Courses and CD’s

WW2010 – Developed by the Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), WW2010 (the weather world 2010 project) is a WWW framework for integrating current and archived weather data with multimedia instructional resources using new and innovative technologies. To ensure the greatest possible accuracy of our instructional resources, all materials have been reviewed and edited by professors and scientists from the Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the Illinois State Water Survey. – Great Met course – Free On-line or CD $7


North U publishes the accompanying Weather for Sailors textbook, CD-ROM and the online Weather Routing Wizard tool.  Prepared jointly by North U., Bill Biewenga, Lou Roberts and Commanders Weather, these all new Weather for Sailors resources are designed to help sailors, cruisers, and racers gather, understand, and interpret weather information.


Starpath Weather TrainerThe Starpath Weather Trainer is a revolutionary, easy-to-use teaching tool and resource which will forever change the way weather skills are taught. This powerful, interactive computer course gives you the working skills that would normally take years to acquire. It provides practical, thorough training that is both memorable and valuable. From weather basics for the beginner to advanced topics for seasoned mariners, the Weather Trainer can make anyone a more competent mariner.


More Advanced Weather Training (you need to do some reading)


COMET - The COMET® Program serves as a premier resource to support, enhance, convey, and stimulate scientific knowledge about the weather for the benefit of providers, educators, and users of weather information.


MetEd(Meteorology Education and Training) Website was established to provide education and training resources to benefit the operational forecaster community, university atmospheric scientists and students, and anyone interested in learning more deeply about meteorology and weather forecasting topics


AMS - An introductory college course provided by the American Meteorological Society for undergraduate institutions nation wide.


Weather Software


WxPlotter– (Weather Plotter) Wx Plotter is a full-featured weather software package, plotting elements such as current weather, temperature, dew point, ceiling, wind barbs, and relative humidity. -Wx Plotter Activation is now free (Start with this one) Great little program!!


WeatherPipe automatically downloads weather charts from the Internet at predesignated times and prints and/or saves them. Imagine waking up every morning and having a fresh set of professional surface charts from your favorite site waiting on the printer
WeatherPipe will import GIF, JPG, and even TIF files. Charts may come from your government, from university servers, and more. For those dark charts, you can configure individual charts to print as a photographic negative. Images don't even need to be a weather chart; for example if you find football scores or train schedules in GIF format ( or US Marine forecasts), WeatherPipe will print those too. As long as it's an image and on the Internet, it can be printed.

Digital Atmosphere is a powerful weather forecasting software that allows you to create detailed maps of real-time weather for anywhere in the world. It makes extensive use of techniques and algorithms that are comparable and in some cases superior to the National Weather Service's multimillion-dollar Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System. It can run on any 486 or Pentium system, and does not require any type of subscription or recurring costs, using free data from the Internet. More expensive ($99 to $199US) but have a look.


GRLevel3 - GRLevel3 is a Windows viewer for live NEXRAD Level III data. Great software program which allows you to add your own Lat/Longs, racing marks, ports, whatever. ($90 US)


RAOB. -The world's most powerful and innovative sounding software available.  A multi-functional sounding analysis program that can decode over 25 different rawinsonde / radiosonde data formats; create a variety of sounding diagrams; 3-D hodograms; time & distance based vertical cross-sections; mountain (lee) wave turbulence diagrams; and display over 100 atmospheric parameters including icing, turbulence, wind shear, clouds, inversions -- plus a unique severe weather analysis table, a cloud parameter table, several thunderstorm analyses options, and graphically interactive diagrams.  RAOB is now used in 50 countries



Internet Weather sites: The Ones used in my Presentation!



The National Weather Service's Marine and Coastal Weather Services Branch is responsible for oversight of the Marine and Coastal Weather Services Program. The program provides current, accurate information relating to U.S. coast, coastal and offshore waters, the Great Lakes, and the open oceans. BOOKMARK THIS GEM!!


The Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) is an integral component of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) located at the NOAA Science Center in Camp Springs, MD. The primary responsibility is the issuance of marine warnings, forecasts, and guidance in text and graphical format for maritime users.


National Hurricane Center -


Environment Canada’s Marine forecasts -for all of Canada.


Canadian Hurricane Centre web site - Located in downtown Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; the hurricane centre specializes in providing information to Canadians on storms of tropical origin that affect Canada or its territorial waters.


The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC)-is one of the nine Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), which is part of the National Weather Service (NWS) The HPC exists to meet the real-time weather information needs of a growing group list of users including NWS field offices, other governmental agencies, the media, the private sector, academic institutions, the international community, and the general public.

Amazing site, for all your weather needs.


Oceanweather Inc -has operated a real time forecasting division following a unique approach which optimally combines the traditional approach to weather forecasting, which retains the contributions of individual forecasters, and Oceanweather's high-level technology developed and applied so successfully in its hindcasting and consulting divisions. The system includes a global wind and wave forecast system and various high resolution regional applications.


Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA) is a scientific research center established to improve understanding and prediction of Earth's climate and daily weather variations.

More advanced site more detailed images, but really great images!


The Ohio State University (OSU) -Our goal is to provide timely and useful graphical and textual weather data to the general public. Very good site, easy to navigate.


Unisys Weather - offers real-time weather data, leading-edge graphical weather display products and consulting, engineering and integration services to clients and value-added resellers.


Weather Underground has state-of-the-art technology which monitors conditions and forecasts for over 60,000 U.S. and international cities, so you'll always find the online weather information that you need. In addition to providing free, real-time online weather information to millions of Web users around the world,


Intellicast is a product of Weather Services International (WSI) is recognized as the world's leading source of weather and weather-related information, mission-critical systems,and presentation services. WSI serves customers in media, aviation, industry, agriculture, government, education and consumer markets.


CIMSS is a Cooperative Institute formed through a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Really great for there Hi-rez satellite images. Great educational site.


National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) is part of the National Weather Service (NWS). NDBC designs, develops, operates, and maintains a network of data collecting buoys and coastal stations.


Nexlab - Educational and great hi-res data – Sat, Radar, obs, etc.

Bookmark this website for Hi-rez images of the Great Lakes. was developed out of the need for reliable, easy to use weather information and forecasts to help sailors with their passage planning and weather routing.
Both before and during deliveries, ocean races, regattas, cruises and all other types of offshore passages, we have your whole route covered. A Very Good site!


WeatherBug is the leading provider of weather information services, manages and operates a proprietary network of over 8,000 WeatherBug Tracking Stations and more than 1,000 cameras that are strategically placed at schools, public safety facilities and television stations throughout the U.S. These professional-grade weather stations generate live neighborhood level reports every second (unlike other weather providers; their data is up to an hour or more old)


Very Specialized wind forecasts WEB sites for the racing sailor.

You will have to subscribe to these.


WindGURU - is a service specialized for forecasting weather, mostly for windsurfers and kitesurfers (but not only...). Forecasts are based on data produced by weather forecast models. Windguru is able to provide forecast for any place on planet Earth. is a consumer service provided by WeatherFlow Inc., a leader in high-quality automated weather networks. We are an experienced group of engineers, meteorologists, and IT professionals offering turn-key weather solutions for clients in industry and government. We are also windsurfers, kitesurfers, sailors, surfers, and fishermen who years ago realized the need for real-time weather reporting and accurate forecasting of conditions.

A Free and Subscription service available. - combines sophisticated wind weather prediction technology with local topography maps to create the highest resolution marine forecast available for over 20,000 locations around the world.

In addition you can access a lower resolution marine forecast for any area around the world. The marine weather modelling technology is only available through the PredictWind website.

Developed by research scientists over 30 years, it has been adapted to provide hourly predictions to localised areas as small as one square kilometre. PredictWind, used by the winner of the last two America’s Cups - Since 1999, Buoyweather has provided detailed, customized marine weather to thousands of mariners, coastal residents, fisherman and watersport enthusiasts worldwide. Our global network of Virtual Buoys deliver quality marine forecasts for all coastal and offshore regions. Buoyweather's point specific marine weather forecasts are the easiest way to safely plan your marine activities. - Wind, wave, weather reports, forecasts & statistics for surfspots worldwide / webcams, satellite images, isobar maps, tides, windiest spots, weather widgets, etc. - The fastest weather on the web, the most current NEXRAD radar and a complete aviation weather package. There's detailed lightning data as well as high-resolution East (GOES-12) and West (GOES-10) satellite images. Plus, you get forums, up-to-date forecasts, surface data, and colorized, animated maps: local, state, regional, and national coverage. Over 9,000 graphic products. Subscription Service.


Lightning Information and Saftey For Boaters


Lightning detectors and General articles and web resources for boaters on lightning safety and protection.


The ThunderBolt® Storm Detector – The Best Sensor out there! is Storm Safety Technology to carry with you anywhere. Thunderstorms and deadly lightning can suddenly come out of nowhere, catching people off guard and unprepared. Sooner or later, everyone who works or plays outdoors will get caught in this predicament.


StrikeAlert - by Outdoors Technologies, is a small and affordable lightning detector that provides an early warning of approaching lightning strikes from as far away as 40 miles and lets you know if the storm is coming your way


Skyscan lightning detector – Another good sensor.


Lightning protection on sailboats. The articles and links below pretty much cover the ground and I suggest you read them over before deciding the level and complexity of any lightning protection system for you boat.


Lightning and Boats – PDF Article


A New Concept for Lightning Protection of Boats – PDF Article.


Marine Lightning Protection Inc. Being at the forefront of both the basic science and product development in this area, we are uniquely qualified to address all of the problems inherent in lightning protection on the water.


Boating-Lightning Protection - Article


US Weather Service – General information of Lightning Safety


Lightning Safety - Article


Cone of Protection from Lightning - Faraday's Cage-Article


National Lightning Safety InstituteThe best source of all lightning research, safety, protection, etc. There mandate is;

To promote, through education, lightning safety for the public good.

To provide forums through which the principles and techniques of lightning safety may be reported, discussed, and published.

To provide a bridge from professional researchers to those who need objective information about lightning safety.

To establish specific audit and certification protocols, as well as engineering site survey programs, to improve lightning safety where needed.


Weather Radio – Environment Canada

( The New SAME Technology in Canada)

Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) is simply a method of identifying the local area to which an alert message applies. It utilizes a digital data stream that contains the alert message with information about the type of event expected, its timing, duration, and location. Identification codes for the specific location and type of event are embedded the broadcast by an encoder at the transmitter site and are decoded by SAME-capable models of Weatheradio receivers. Within the broadcast, this data stream is audible as a brief tone or static-like burst.


US National Weather Service Version - info



Just a few SSB Software Sites - For people that want to learn more about SSB weather reception on the Ocean/Open Great Lakes.


Understanding GRIB DATA

Great Starting point -

Grib is the format used by the meteorological institutes of the world to transport and manipulate weather data and is the foundation of the forecasts we see around us in our daily life. In the past, accessing and viewing GRIB weather data has often required a tricky combination of technical knowledge and expensive software

GRIB.US. A company that empowers you, the end-user, to interactively extract your own custom GRIB weather files tailored to your needs. We also provide you with our - easy to use- Ugrib software to view this data so that you can look at weather data for anywhere in the world when you want to, where you want to. Best of all, this is all for FREE! PC for now but may develop a MAC version. (Start here)

Other GRIB Viewing Software:


Ocens GRIB Explorer 8.0

The updated version of the renowned GRIB reader includes new a plot options panel that allows users to more closely control how data is displayed. Users can set contour line intervals, number of contours displayed, and ranges as they relate to the data. All of these adjustments can be made on the fly while viewing the data, helping to pinpoint the information that is most important. GRIB Explorer 8 also sports an updated graphical menu bar and more background map images to choose from for displaying data over. $199US – PC Only


GribView 2.0 software by

provides direct access to the highest quality weather forecast data directly from our servers. Simply select and customise your weather forecasts requirements offline, request them online and instantly view offline. The e-mail request function allows you to send and receive your request by email. Free Software, more detailed GRIB you have to pay via a subscription service.

PC & MAC versions


BallGate Grib File Viewer - Program to download, view and manage Grib file weather forecasts. These are freely available on the internet and are highly compressed so can easily be downloaded over slow internet links. Will also generate emails to download custom area forecasts from The program includes utilities to decompress and join grib files and to extract specific areas from large files. Passage plans can also be set up and displayed on the forecasts, showing the expected boat position at the time of the forecast. the program on a single computer and costs £10 for the basic system or £50 for the Pro version. PC only


Global Marine Networks (GMN) offers 7 day wind forecasts of the world as a free public service via it's GRIB Mail Robot. The forecasts are generated daily for every region of the world. GRIB forecasts are based on the National Weather Service Wave Watch III model yielding highly accurate forecasts every 6 hours for up to 7 days into the future. All GRIB forecasts are delivered via e-mail and optimized specifically for low bandwidth wireless connections.

Again, subscription based $$.


Airmail's weather fax companion - Includes Getfax to receive faxes, and Viewfax grib/fax viewer. Also includes the latest NOAA radiofax schedule (rfax.pdf). This latest version allows frequency to be set via station and frequency-selection boxes, once fax mode is selected. An auto-fax mode is also provided for scheduled reception. Getfax is licensed without charge for licensed users of Airmail (i.e. Sailmail members, hams and other licensed users)


WEATHER FAX 2000 - Receive up-to-the minute weatherfaxes worldwide! This extremely popular program is written for Windows 95 and newer.


WindPlot Software – Plots \wind speed, ocean currents, surface temps, precipitation, etc. etc. plots all the weather found in GRIB Format


Marine SSB Books – Learn more about/General Info about WxFax



OCENS - Weather, Email And wireless communication solutions for satellite and cellular services


Radioworld - is the largest radio store of its type in Canada, specializing in Amateur, Shortwave, Marine, Avionics, CB, FRS/GMRS radios, GPS, Communications Scanners and a complete assortment of related accessories.

Ask them anything, and they will tell how to set it up!


SeaTTY 2.0 - program to receive weather reports, navigational warnings and weather charts transmitted on longwave and shortwave bands in RTTY, NAVTEX and HF-FAX (WEFAX) modes. It can decode GMDSS DSC (HF and VHF) messages. Software also can automatically save NOAA Weather Radio SAME voice messages (NWR SAME) and them digital headers. None additional hardware is required - your need only receiver and computer with a sound card.


GMN - Provides compressed satellite email, weather, vessel tracking services, and blogging. Marine communication is easier and more cost effective with wireless services, airtime, satellite phones, Pactor modems, and marine equipment from one trusted location.


Raymarine - the world leader in marine electronics develops and manufactures the most comprehensive range of electronic equipment for the recreational boating and light commercial marine markets.


Nobeltec - provides you the most cost effective navigation and communication solutions on the market:


Maxsea - As the leader today in the area of navigation software,

Weather Instruments

Davis Weather Stations - Davis Instruments, a privately held manufacturing company and developer of exceptional instruments for weather, marine, and automotive. The Best station there is for the Money!! – nice catalog list all major brands for all kinds of weather instruments.

Produced by Ron Bianchi (updated March 2010)


Upcoming Events

07 Jul 2020;
06:00PM - 10:00PM
Shark Fleet Race Night
07 Jul 2020;
06:30PM - 10:00PM
08 Jul 2020;
06:00AM - 10:00PM
Clubhouse powerclean, Fire Inspection
08 Jul 2020;
06:00PM - 10:00PM
Fleet Race Night
14 Jul 2020;
06:00PM - 10:00PM
Shark Fleet Race Night

Club Calendar

July 2020
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31


Use the "Forgot your password" button to retrieve password.

  logo2                  Whitby Yacht Club
                       701 Gordon Street
                  Whitby, Ont L1N 5S4

                 About Us 

                   Contact Us
                Hours of Operation  
                    Hall Rentals 

                  Join WYC

                 Membership Info

                      Learn to Sail

                         Sailing School



© 2017 Whitby Yacht Club