Please be aware that these web sites are NOT USPS sites, and that you are leaving the USPS domain when you click on these links. These links are posted for information only, and USPS assumes no liability for content or results of using the information. As always, we strongly recommend using up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware programs at all times, especially when downloading information from unfamiliar web sites.
The National Ocean Service (NOS) Office of Coast Survey has expanded the function of its chart update website. The website allows mariners to update their nautical charts from one database that includes information from NOS, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Notice to Mariners, the Coast Guard Local Notice to Mariners and the Canadian Coast Guard Notice to Mariners. U.S. Chart No. 1, Nautical Chart Symbols and Abbreviations, is also available at this site. This document shows the meaning of the symbols that appear on all U.S. charts. Some of the files are rather large, so be patient when clicking on the contents of the web page. To access the website and for more information, go to: http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/. (05 Dec 08)
Internet websites generally have the highest quality and most detailed weather information, including radar and satellite images. With expanding wireless access to the Internet (computers, smart phones, etc.) the public has access both at home and onboard. The most comprehensive site is NOAA’s National Weather page that serves as a portal into all of the NOAA/NWS web pages. www.weather.gov or www.nws.noaa.gov
Unlike regular weather reports and forecasts NOAA marine forecasts contain detailed information about wind speed and direction, precipitation, visibility and most importantly sea state. Wave heights are reported in feet based on the average height of the highest one-third of the waves in a wave train. Higher waves above this average are to be expected.
In addition to regular weather and marine forecasts, NOAA and commercial enterprises provide other forecasts, predictions, reports, alerts, and data of interest to boaters. Upper air charts, for example, are of particular interest to those who know how to interpret them for forecasting purposes. There are also university websites that have regional as well as national weather information, excellent links, and educational materials.
Listed below are some of these weather and weather related websites.
|NWS Weather Page||www.weather.gov or www.nws.noaa.gov|
|The Weather Channel||www.weather.com|
|Weather For You||www.weatherforyou.com|
Marine Forecasts and Sea Conditions
|NWS Marine Page||www.weather.gov/om/marine/home.htm|
|NOAA National Data Buoy Center||www.ndbc.noaa.gov|
|NOAA Marine Radio Fax Charts||http://weather.noaa.gov/fax/marine.shtml|
Tropical Storms and Severe Weather
|NOAA National Hurricane Center||www.nhc.noaa.gov/index.shtml|
|NOAA Storm Prediction Center||www.spc.noaa.gov/|
|NWS Daily Weather Maps||www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/dailywxmap/|
|NWS Surface & Upper Air Maps||www.spc.noaa.gov/obswx/maps/|
|NOAA Marine Radio Fax Charts||http://weather.noaa.gov/fax/marine.shtml|
|NOAA River Observations||http://water.weather.gov/ahps/index.php?ahps=0|
|NOAA River Forecasts||http://water.weather.gov/ahps/forecasts.php|
Tides and Currents
|NOAA Tide Predictions||http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/tide_predictions.shtml|
|NOAA Current Predictions||http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/curr_pred.html|
University Weather Sites
|Florida State University||www.met.fsu.edu/index.pl/wxdata|
|Penn State University||http://php.scripts.psu.edu/dept/ur/weather/index.php|
|University of Arizona||http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/index.php?section=weather|
|University of Illinois||www.atmos.uiuc.edu/weather/index.html|
|University of Washington||www.atmos.washington.edu/|
|University of Wyoming||http://weather.uwyo.edu/|
The US Coast Guard Navigation Center web site, with information about GMDSS, GPS, VHF/DSC, and other maritime telecommunications information, is at http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/.
Here are some links for those who use their PDAs
for navigational work, including tides and currents. Check out:
Programs for the Palm™ OS:
A number of "star finder" programs are also available for the Palm Pilot. One such program is "Planetarium." This is by A. Hofer and is shareware. The URL for more information and the latest release is: http://www.aho.ch/pilotplanets. This program gives altitude and azimuth as well as rising, setting, and transit times anywhere and anytime for not only the sun, moon, planets and navigational stars but also some 1500 other stars, constellations and messier objects. Also gives times of civil, nautical and astronomical twilight.
Programs for Windows Mobile (Pocket PC, Windows CE):
Pocket Stars performs most of the functions of the Palm program "Planetarium" mentioned above, and also does full celestial navigation.
Programs available for both the Palm™ OS and Windows Mobile:
General Palm and other PDA software may be found at: www.handango.com, by searching for things like navigation, tide, boat, etc.
Some links to sites that may be of interest to JN and N students are cited below. We think that you will find some of them very interesting in your studies of celestial and offshore navigation. If you have some personal favorites, please send them to us at the ONCom address.
StarCalc is a program that will bring a planetarium onto your computer monitor. The program is a creation of Alexander E. Zavalishin, a Russian, and is provided at no charge. This program will show a picture of the sky at any time of the day or night from any location in the world at any time. The program provides an alternative to the "Star Finder" plastic circular slide rule used in the JN and N courses. Using the program, you can print a copy of the sky showing the bodies that you intend to "shoot". The graphic provided by StarCalc gives a clear diagram of where the celestial targets of opportunity are located and the hassle of plotting solar system objects is eliminated. The StarCalc program can be downloaded from: http://www.relex.ru/~zalex/main.htm. (Contributed by Lt/C Robert B. Small, Jacksonville Sail and Power Squadron)
SeaClear is a freeware navigation program for Windows NT 4.0, 2000 or 95/98/ME which, when connected to a GPS (or other unit capable of transmitting NMEA position data), will display the vessel on a chart, with the current position, speed and direction. New charts are loaded as needed. The track may be saved to a file for later reviewing, and log book entries may be manually and automatically entered. An unlimited number of routes and waypoints may be created and used to assist in the navigation. The screen area for charts is maximized with most functions accessed with the right mouse button. Zooming is provided with support for IntelliMouse wheel. The program may be downloaded from: http://www.sping.com/seaclear/. (Contributed by Lt/C Robert B. Small, Jacksonville Sail and Power Squadron)
There are links for those who use their PDAs for celestial work. Check out the PDA links. (Contributed by P/Cs Dan Bartell and Stan Klein)
Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has links to an on
line version of the 2002 Edition of Bowditch's The American Practical
Navigator, as well as Pub 249 for the Air Navigation Tables,
Pub 229 for the Marine Navigation Tables, and the Atlas of Pilot Charts. Click on Publications
on the left side, and then choose your document from the Menu Options
at the top of the resulting page. The NGA site also has several Marine Navigation Calculators. These
calculators were developed from the tables at the back of The American
Practical Navigator and from other select publications. Not all tables
are replicated here. There are several piloting, celestial navigation,
and sailings functions. Click on View Nautical Calculators on the left
side, and then choose your calculator from the Menu Options at the
The Astronomical Applications Department of the US Naval Observatory has useful information on various astronomical phenomena. There is also a link to another site where you can purchase a computer program entitled Multiyear Interactive Computer Almanac (MICA).
Analemma Curve. Want to know more about analemma curves? Try out www.analemma.com. It contains some very interesting information, if you'd like to enrich your Navigation course of study. Just click on the word analemma on the opening page.
Anyone boating in a cold water environment should be aware of the serious and potentially mortal consequences of falling overboard. Visit www.enter.net/~skimmer/coldwater.html to get information that should be distributed to America's Boating Course students as well as our own members.