Cruisers College April Seminars

2-Day Marine Weather Course

with Lee Chesneau

Saturday and Sunday, November 4 & 5, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. $195

Register here.

This 2-day course is designed for the vast range of seafarers from the inexperienced recreational sailboat cruisers and experienced racers, to power boaters, to commercial fishermen/women & seasoned professional mariners that operate their vessels from California, the U.S & Canadian Pacific Northwest, and even Alaska. After leaving various originating marinas, docks, anchorages, or commercial ports, whether it be an afternoon sail in Shilshole Bay, considered part of the inland waters of western Washington or the coastal waters near Port Grenville or perhaps extended periods at sea over the near & further offshore waters and finally, the high seas of the north Pacific Ocean. This 2-day course will overlap and include all contingencies.

Presented by senior marine meteorologist Lee Chesneau, the course begins with the all-important discussion of the marine advisory & warnings system of the U.S. National Weather Service(NWS) and Environment Canada – (Strong Wind Warning/Small Craft Advisories (SCA), Gale, Storm, and Hurricane Force Warnings). Never leave the dock without knowing which one applies to your vessel & when on the high seas, adjusting strategies promptly.

Pertinent topics range from standard meteorological concepts of the atmosphere’s moisture and its role in cloud formation, types and precipitation, its weight (barometric pressure), the dynamics of air motion horizontally and vertically, generated by invisible forces that cause wind, to scales of weather systems from global jet streams, to synoptic scale of low and high pressures systems, to what you see from your wheel house  of micro scale-thunderstorms/micro-bursts/waterspouts.

Lee will show you the importance of comparison of marine forecast charts (48-96 hour at sea-level surface pressure forecasts) to the most current surface pressure analysis chart of the same valid date and time. This allows one to determine the accuracy of the forecasts, and second, to discuss how systems develop and move across the north Pacific and impact geographic regions such as the Pacific Northwest.

The meat and potatoes of the course will center on “synoptic scale weather systems”- especially those of the middle latitude (30/60N) where the waters of the Pacific Northwest lie. The constant influence & impact of organized low & high pressure systems & their associated synoptic scale features, such as fronts (cold, warm, occluded, and stationary), troughs, and ridges are depicted with graphical symbols by the NWS’s Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) on charts that will always drive local conditions at your vessel. This is simply an every-day occurrence in the Pacific Northwest. The course will also cover the other identifiable chart symbols on the at sea-level surface pressure charts from the OPC.

There will be a mixture of lecture & application hands-on exercises over the two-day time frame.

In addition, to the exposure of OPC products and services, attendees will be exposed to the variety of marine forecast products and services provided by the local NWS forecast office in Seattle and Environment Canada in Vancouver, B.C. These two forecast offices often coordinate their overlapping areas of responsibility of marine weather from the San Juan Islands to the inside passage such as the Georgia Strait and Juan de Fuca. Observed weather conditions from buoy and ferry vessel reports and their intervals will all be discussed to demonstrate the depth of current weather data you can receive while operating your vessel. There will be a discussion of the pros and cons of “fax charts” versus numerical weather model based “GRIB files.” The course will conclude with a discussion of means to procure weather information from HF-single side band, the Internet and to FTP mail.

Whether a novice or experienced sailor, this comprehensive course will offer an opportunity to put you on the road to learn how to become self-reliant in your own weather forecasting and prudent cruise decision-making. Information on follow-up Marine Weather II and III, each two-day course is conducted in conjunction with Cruisers’ College will be offered to attendees of Marine Weather 1.

Register here.

About Lee

Lee is a highly experienced professional meteorologist on land & at sea (with over 70,000 miles under his keel), a retired naval officer, author, & dynamic instructor and lecturer. He has an ongoing distinguished 40-year career, during which he received a number of awards and recognition. Lee’s career includes service with the U.S. Navy, the National Weather Service (NWS), and the private sector, specializing in maritime weather forecasting and ship routing. Lee is also the author of the book, “Heavy Weather Avoidance,” and has written numerous magazine articles. He is a speaker at a number of Safety at Sea Seminar Symposiums (SASS), marine trade, & boat shows. As a certified approved U.S. Coast Guard instructor for five maritime schools teaching Standards Training Certification, and Watch-Standing for Seafarers (STCW) for Basic and Advanced Meteorology. Each is a five-day course for professional mariners. Lee has a version of each course tailored to the commercial fishing and recreational communities in both one and two-day courses. Lee is dedicated to educating and training every seagoing mariner on self-reliance for their own marine weather & forecasting, strategic routing, emphasizing prudent, independent decision making.


All seminars are held at the NW Center of Excellence for Marine Manufacturing & Technology in Anacortes.

Address: 1606 R Ave. Anacortes, WA 98221

Take the R Avenue exit off of Highway 20. Proceed North for about 1 mile. The MTC will be on your right noted by the stainless steel sculpture of two joggers (across from The Market grocery store). Make the next right on Seafarers Way, then the next right into the parking lot for the MTC. There are restaurants and motels nearby.

northwest-center-of-excellence-for-marine-manufacturing-technology

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