National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Rachel Johnson

NOAA’s Weather–Ready Nation initiative is about building community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events.

In People of Weather–Ready Nation, we sit down with some of the people responsible for building a Weather­Ready Nation. We recently talked to Rachel Johnson, the Executive Director of the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC).

1. What does a Weather–Ready Nation mean to you?

One thing that affects every single boating trip is the weather. Responsible boaters always remember to check the weather forecast before their trip and keep an eye on weather reports throughout their day on the water. The National Safe Boating Council sees Weather-Ready Nation as a critical part of providing current weather information so that boaters can make educated, informed decisions each and every time they go boating. Even a sunny day on the water offers the opportunity to share a few safety reminders: always wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, and stay hydrated while enjoying a day of boating.

2. How are you helping to build a Weather–Ready Nation?

The National Safe Boating Council's mission is safer boating through education, outreach, and training. As a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador, we work hard to deliver key boating safety education and outreach to boaters, including general tips and information about how boating and weather go hand-in-hand. In addition to always wearing a life jacket while boating and to never boat under the influence, we're committed to educating boaters about weather-related topics like knowing what to do when a storm quickly develops while they're on the water and how to protect everyone onboard when a lightening storm threatens their safety. We believe it is important to showcase the tools on The homepage offers critical safety information to help educate boaters on topics including Gale Force Winds, Special Marine Warnings, and Winter Storm Watches.

3. What is the biggest challenge you see in making the nation ready, responsive, and resilient to extreme events?

Communication is key: to best develop a Weather-Ready Nation, the influencers need to work together to deliver messaging that the public will not only want to hear, but will want to take action on. No matter the platform, whether it be through radio, television, or social media, creating the direct link to the public makes the biggest difference. When people are provided with critical information to keep themselves and those they love safe, they'll be much more receptive to the message and call to action being communicated to them.


Rachel Johnson, CAE, is the Executive Director of the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC). She serves as the technical content advisor in direct support of the NSBC’s education, training, and outreach programs; plans and develops national boating safety awareness projects and campaigns; and serves as a representative of the NSBC to national and international organizations.