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Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) Program

The United States VOS Program is organized for the purpose of obtaining weather and oceanographic observations from moving ships. An international program under World Meteorological Organization (WMO) auspices, the VOS program has forty nine countries as participants. The United States VOS Program services about one quarter of the world's VOS fleet, providing ships' crews with weather observer training, handbooks and forms, observation encoding software, barometer calibration, the Mariners Weather Log, and weather observing tools. Observations are coded in a special format known as the ships synoptic code, or "BBXX" format. They are then distributed on national and international circuits for use by meteorologists in weather forecasting, by oceanographers, ship routing services, fishermen, and many others. The observations are then forwarded for use by the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) in Asheville, North Carolina.

Check out this video about the benefits of the VOS program. 

Observations from ships form the basis of marine weather forecasts in coastal, offshore and high seas areas. The program operates at no cost to the vessel, with communications charges, observing equipment and reporting supplies furnished by the National Weather Service. Vessels participating in the VOS program are typically active commercial vessels with licensed crew. For further information on the VOS Program, visit the VOS Webpage and read the Mariner's Weather Log Magazine.

Skywarn logo


Many mariners participate in the SKYWARN Program. SKYWARN is a nationwide network of volunteer weather spotters who report to and are trained by the National Weather Service. These spotters report many forms of significant or severe weather such as Severe Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Hail, Heavy Snow, or Flooding. Contact your local National Weather Service Forecast Office to learn about SKYWARN activities in your area.

MAREP Program

MAREP is a program whereby mariners report current coastal weather conditions in the form of plain language reports to local Weather Forecast Offices producing Coastal Weather Forecasts. Unlike the VOS and SKYWARN programs, pre-registration and training is not usually a prerequisite for participation. Available reporting methods and procedures vary between Forecast Offices. Cellular telephone, HF Marine radio, VHF Marine Radio, Ham Radio, Webforms and e-mail are a few of the communication tools used. Contact your local National Weather Service Forecast Office to learn about MAREP program activities in your area.

Mariner Reports (MAREPs)

If the numbers in the table below are not correct, you can find contact information for local NWS offices here

National Weather Service Phone Numbers to Report Marine Observations and Severe Marine Weather (MAREPs)
Ocean Prediction Center None
National Hurricane Center None
Central Pacific Hurricane Center 808-973-5284
Caribou, ME None
Portland/Gray, ME 800-482-0913
Taunton, MA 800-330-1147
New York, NY 800-226-0218
Philadelphia/New Jersey None
Washington, DC/Maryland 800-253-7091
Wakefield, VA 757-899-2415
Newport/Morehead City, NC 800-899-6889
Wilmington, NC 910-762-8724
Charleston, SC 888-383-2024
Jacksonville, FL 800-499-1594
Melbourne, FL 321-255-0212 Ext 242
Miami, FL 305-229-4528
Key West, FL 305-295-1316 Ext 3
San Juan, PR 787-253-4589
Tampa, FL 800-282-1228
Tallahassee, FL 850-942-8833
Mobile, AL None
New Orleans, LA 504-522-7730
Lake Charles, LA 337-477-5285
Houston/Galveston, TX None
Corpus Christi, TX None
Brownsville, TX None
Buffalo,NY 866-896-BOAT
Cleveland,OH None
Detroit/Pontiac,MI 248-625-3309 Ext 468
Gaylord, MI 989-732-6242 Ext 1
Grand Rapids,MI Preregistration Required
Chicago,IL 815-834-1435 (8AM-8PM)
Northern Indiana, IN 574-834-1104 Ext 286
Milwaukee/Sullivan,WI 262-965-5061 x468
Green Bay,WI 920-494-7478
Marquette,MI 906-475-5213
Duluth,MN 218-729-6697 Ext 6
Seattle, WA None
Portland, OR None
Medford, OR 800-483-4573
Eureka, CA 800-240-3027
San Francisco, CA 800-437-2689
Los Angeles/Oxnard, CA 800-524-6120
San Diego, CA 800-240-3022
Annette, AK 907-886-3241
Barrow, AK 907-852-6484
Bethel, AK 907-543-2236
Cold Bay, AK 907-532-2448
Juneau, AK 877-807-8943
King Salmon, AK 907-246-3303
Kodiak, AK 907-487-2102
Kotzebue, AK 907-442-3231
McGrath, AK 907-524-3177
Nome, AK 907-443-2321
St. Paul Is., AK 907-546-2215
Valdez, AK 907-835-4505
Yakutat, AK 907-784-3322
Honolulu, HI 808-973-5277
Marianas (Guam) 671-472-0952
Micronesia 671-472-0952
American Samoa 684-699-9130


MAROB Program

The MAROB Program is a voluntary marine observation program of the National Weather Service. It seeks the participation of all mariners, both commercial and recreational, which are not part of the more in-depth VOS program. It is the goal of the program to collect as many marine observations as practicable, to improve the accuracy of coastal, offshore and high seas forecasts, by taking advantage of technological advancements in digital marine communications.

MAROB observations will be in coded form which can be better ingested, distributed and displayed by forecasters than observations in plain language. The MAROB report format will be identical to VOS coded reports, with the exception that "MAROB" will replace "BBXX". The MAROB program will differ from the VOS Program in at least several other aspects: Although MAROBs will be used by forecasters in forecast decision process, these data will likely not be used directly by computer models; Any communications charges and the cost of any observing equipment will not be reimbursed by the Weather Service; The observation elements collected will typically be a subset of those collected in the full VOS report.

CLICK HERE for more details on the MAROB program.

MARS Program

The MARS Program is a voluntary marine observation program of the National Weather Service whereby U.S. Coast Guard Group Stations report marine weather conditions from several shore locations within their operating area. The reports are in an abbreviated plain language format with fixed fields. For further information on the MARS program contact the National Data Buoy Center at:

APRSWXNET/Citizen Weather Observer Program (CWOP)

Originally, APRSWXNET was developed as a way for amateur radio operators to transmit weather data to the NOAA's Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL) in Boulder, Colorado for research. The success of this effort and the amount of data routinely collected have led to use by other research labs and by operational parts of NOAA including the National Weather Service. The system has also been expanded to allow collection of observations via the Internet, thereby expanding the program to persons not holding an amateur radio license. The program offers the potential of greatly improving the accuracy of marine forecasts and timeliness of warnings. An example would be a network of volunteer automated weather stations installed at marinas and yacht clubs along the coast. For further information, visit the CWOP Webpage

Nearby CWOP weather data may be retrieved via the Internet as in the following examples where 20902 is the zip code, or the position is 39.1N, 77.1W, or via NOAA's NCEP Central Operations MADIS Database which offers a Display of Surface Data .

Cooperative Observer Program (COOP)

The National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) is truly the Nation's weather and climate observing network of, by and for the people. More than 11,000 volunteers take observations on farms, in urban and suburban areas, National Parks, seashores, and mountaintops. The data are truly representative of where people live, work and play. Although these observations are typically taken over land, they impact the accuracy of Global Forecast Models used in marine forecasting. For further information, visit the COOP Webpage

Voluntary Mesonets

NOAA's NCEP Central Operations MADIS Database offers a Display of Surface Data from several government, commercial and voluntarily operated mesonets as well as observations of those of the Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) Program and data buoys. A variety of marine observations may also be viewed on NOAA's nowCOAST web portal.