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New Tool To Boost Seafarers' Understanding Of Weather Fronts

by Amanda Banks,, London

04 March 2013

A new tool launched by the Nautical Institute aims to assist seafarers to better interpret data from the latest weather forecasting technologies.

The Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) guide explains the meteorological prediction process and shows how mariners can evaluate the many digital weather products and services on offer, and create their own forecasts. The book also allows seafarers to access a number of services specifically designed for mariners - including routeing advice and forecasts for use as electronic chart overlays.

Vice President of the Institute, Robert McCabe, said the guide’s author, Huw Davies, had been concerned that insurers, mariners and shipping companies "had not responded to the improvements in weather forecast accuracy or adjusted their procedures and expectations."

"We hope this book closes the gap so that mariners are given the tools to extract the full value from numerical weather predictions," he said.

The Institute pointed out that the effective use of weather forecasting is considered to offer both improved safety and commercial efficiency, and the guide is also in line with The Nautical Institute’s strategic plan, which identifies eNavigation as a key development need for seafarers.

According to statistics from the International Union of Marine Insurance, weather was a leading cause of loss in shipping between 1996 and 2010, accounting for 45% of losses alone between 2006 and 2010.

Author of the guide, Davies, is a leading authority on weather forecasting, and a former Commander in the Royal Navy. He is an advisor to the UK Government, European Commission and a number of FTSE 100 companies on marine environments, and sits on the European Commission Maritime Borders Working Group.


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