The National Weather Service's Marine and Coastal Weather Services Branch (W/OS21) is responsible
for oversight of the Marine and Coastal Weather Services Services Program. The program provides current, accurate
information relating to U.S. coast, coastal and offshore waters, the Great
Lakes, and the open oceans. This information aims to:
- Ensure the safety of life and protection of property
- Promote international and interstate commerce by improving
the efficiency of marine operations
- Enhance the quality of life for the United States
Transport by water is generally the most economical
and efficient means to move goods. Helping marine traffic avoid
hazardous weather benefits Americans by keeping costs down, thus
making products more affordable. More than 90 percent of the goods
imported into the United States arrive via the oceans. Maritime
commerce results in a contribution of $78.6 billion annually and
generates nearly 16 million jobs. One out of six jobs in the U.S.
is marine related. Further, over 77 million Americans enjoy recreational
boating, an industry that generates nearly $18 billion annually
in sales of boats and related materials.*
Coastal areas in the U.S. are home to a wealth of natural and economic
resources and include some of the most developed areas in the nation.
The narrow coastal fringe that makes up 17 percent of the nation's contiguous land area is home to more than half of its population. In 2003, approximately 153 million people (53 percent) of the nation’s population lived in the 673 U.S. coastal counties.**
Using the weather analyses and forecast guidance provided
by NCEP, along with radar, satellite, and in-situ observational
data, NWS marine weather forecasters issue wind, sea state, and
significant weather warnings, forecasts, and weather statements.
These are essential to the conduct of safe and efficient maritime
operations and for the protection of the marine public.
The collection of weather observations is vital to
accurate weather forecasting, and especially so over the waters
where weather stations are few and far between. Thousands of vessels
worldwide are Volunteer
Observing Ships (VOS), sending observations every few hours
which are used by marine forecasters and computer modelers to improve
the accuracy of the forecasts. The National
Data Buoy Center (NDBC) of the NWS maintains 95 buoys in the
oceans and the Great Lakes.
Marine forecasts are also issued as needed to aid
in search and rescue operations, the containment and cleanup of
oil spills or support to other disasters such as plane crash recovery
Year of the Ocean Discussion Papers, Office of the Chief
Scientist, NOAA, 1998.
Population Trends Along the Coastal United States: 1980-2008, Coastal Trends Report Series, National Ocean Service, NOAA, 2004.
National NWS Marine Page:
- Marine Forecasts
Forecasts, warnings, observations, maps, pubs, broadcast info, contacts, etc.
High Seas Forecasts and Warnings:
Offshore Forecasts and Warnings:
Coastal and Great Lakes Forecasts and Warnings:
Model Guidance and Products
Hurricane Forecasts and Warnings:
Tsunami Warnings and Information:
Warning and Forecast Area Maps: