On the afternoon of July 25, a fast-moving storm packing 70 mph winds, rain and lightning swept across Chesapeake Bay. During the next two hours, Coast Guard Sector Baltimore received 37 calls from mariners in distress. Unfortunately many boaters and anglers, unaware of the storm's fury, were caught unprepared. But it didn't have to be this way.
Today there are dozens of hi-tech ways to receive up-to-the-minute weather information aboard your boat. The BoatU.S. Foundation recently reviewed 28 products and services to see which provided mariners with the best information and has issued its recommendations for its top "picks."
"Sometimes bad weather can approach with few visual signs," said program manager David Carter. "Having these resources available can complement your VHF radio's weather broadcast."
The review, which covered satellite and phone-based weather services for the coastal inshore and inland boater, included free cell phone text-messaging services to fee-based subscription services that display weather information on a chart plotter.