The Weather for Sailors course is now also available online. It is split into 9 modules, each 90 minutes long (including a 10 minute break) and taught online by our highly experienced instructor, Dr Alec Bennett. Below is a list of all the modules with a brief overview of the topics covered. You can select a single module, or a combination of modules, to create a course tailored to your specific needs. Class sizes are kept small, allowing plenty of opportunity for Alec to answer any questions you have.
Feedback during 2021:
"an excellent course"
"I look forward to the next modules as it helps immensely"
"Thanks for the training, very worthwhile"
Bookings - September 2022
Our online modules are taught on Monday and Wednesday evenings, 7-8.30pm. Our first module will be delivered on 12 September, with the final on 10 October 2022.
The price of each module has been discounted for the Autumn 2022 season to £50 (standard £60) and this includes module notes and training certificate.
Special discount: Register for all 9 modules for the price of 7! (£350 for the complete course)
To register your interest in our online modules, please complete our registration form and we will contact you with further details.
M1: Fundamentals of the Atmosphere: Temperature, Pressure, Humidity and Wind
Introducing the essential ingredients which determine the weather, forming the basis for more advanced concepts. Learn why the atmosphere is constantly changing and how the rotating Earth strongly influences wind speed and direction.
M2: Sea Breezes and Other Local Winds
Learn the reasons why coastal weather conditions quickly change with time of day or when sailing near islands, rugged terrain and different shaped coastlines.
M3: Global Circulation, Jet Streams and Pressure Systems
Gain an appreciation of the general weather conditions expected at different regions of the world. Learn how high and low pressure systems form, evolve and dominate mid-latitude weather. Recognise early signs of developing storm force winds. Essential learning for all mid-latitude sailors.
M4: Air Masses and Fronts
Recommended for all mid-latitude sailors as an accompanying module to M3. Understand how wind direction can be used to forecast the likely weather conditions, allowing you to anticipate challenging or advantageous conditions during your voyage. You will also learn what happens when regions of air with different properties collide, giving you the ability to estimate conditions at any point on a weather chart.
M5: Clouds and Precipitation
Learning to identify cloud types enables the sailor to diagnose the current state of the atmosphere and help predict the likely weather conditions for the next 24 hours or more. Find out which cloud types are likely to give gentle continuous rain, an intense hail shower or a sudden change of wind direction.
Visibility is simply how far a person can see, so is a fundamental aspect of maritime safety. Learn what factors influence it at sea during both day and night. Topics include coastal fog formation, blizzard whiteouts and the unexpected deterioration when rain becomes drizzle. This module also includes mirages and how they create imaginary ships or islands on the horizon, making sailors double-check their navigation charts!
Thunderstorms develop over sea as well as land, occur in any season and present a formidable collection of hazards to sailors. These include lightning strikes, radio blackouts and near-zero visibility. Understand which conditions favour their formation, identify and avoid developing storms and minimise your risk when they are overhead.
M8: Hurricanes and Tropical Marine Weather
Hurricanes, Typhoons and Cyclones are a regular but extremely hazardous feature of large regions of the tropics and subtropics. Knowledge of their formation, typical tracks and keeping alert to warnings is essential for sailors in these regions. Other features like the Trade Winds, Doldrums and areas of regular thunderstorms can also help make or break a successful passage.
M9: Wind Scales, Sea State and Sources of Weather Information
Current and forecast sea and weather conditions are communicated by national weather services using standard symbols and codes that every sailor needs to know. These codes and weather charts are explained, together with where to find reliable weather information available both onshore and on-board.