National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

The National Weather Service (NWS), in collaboration with other nations, plays a critical role in generating marine forecasts that contribute to a global network of marine information such as wind speed, wave height, and more.

As a key advocate in the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), the NWS supports the dissemination of crucial marine forecasts. Within the NWS, marine forecasts are created by two national centers, the Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) and National Hurricane Center (NHC), along with the Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Honolulu, and many other coastal WFOs. The coordinated effort between the national centers and WFOs ensures the NWS produces a cohesive and consistent forecast and suite of weather information used by local, federal, and international partners to safely navigate marine areas.

While the significance of marine forecasts in protecting life and property over marine areas cannot be overstated, the true value is unrealized without the awareness of their existence and the means to access them. Although there is no singular location for marine weather information, is a great starting place to access the appropriate information on the internet. 


Offshore and high seas forecast zones for the Atlantic (L) and Pacific (R) color coded by National Center and WFO area of responsibility.

Receiving Your Marine Forecasts
In marine areas where bandwidth is reduced or internet is not readily available, alternative means of accessing weather information and forecasts are provided by the NWS including, but not limited to, the following methods: 

  • NOAA Weather Radio: The NWS broadcasts marine forecasts over dedicated radio frequencies. 

  • GMDSS: The NWS broadcasts warnings via NAVTEX, HF Narrow Band Printing, and approved satellite providers SafetyNet and SafetyCast.

  • US Coast Guard (USCG) Broadcast: Broadcasts include Radiofax, HF SITOR, HF Voice, and VHF Voice.

  • FTP Mail: The NWS provides weather forecast information through email.