Communication Services

Accessing weather information at sea

A range of services provide current weather information for mariners at sea. VHF radio is accessible from in-shore waters, HF radio for much greater distances off-shore, and the satellite 'Inmarsat C SafetyNET' and 'Iridium SafetyCast' services provide global access.

VHF voice radio

  • Where: In-shore.
  • What: Weather and maritime safety information.
  • Schedules: See providers.
  • Provider: State/territory government marine transport and safety agencies.
  • Details: VHF marine radio weather services

For more information, the Bureau of Meteorology and Australian Communications and Media Authority have produced a video on using VHF marine radio for weather information.

HF voice radio & radiofax

  • Where: Off-shore
  • Details: HF marine radio weather services
  • Provider: Bureau for weather. AMSA for maritime safety information
  • Voice
    • What: Warnings and forecasts
    • Schedules: Marine warnings are broadcast every hour, on the hour UTC. Forecasts and observation reports are broadcast on a fixed schedule repeated every four hours.
  • Fax
    • What: Weather, wind and wave charts
    • Schedules
    • How: Reception requires a marine fax unit attached to your HF radio or a personal computer connected through an HF modulator.

Internet - MarineLite

  • MarineLite is designed for mariners using satellite internet or in areas with marginal mobile phone coverage. Forecasts, warnings, and weather charts are all available in small file sizes which are quick and less expensive to download.
  • Products available: Australian Coastal Waters forecasts and warnings, High Seas forecasts and Ocean Wind Warnings (less than 10 kilobytes in size), charts for Australia, Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean (less than 200 kilobytes).
  • URL: MarineLite

Satellite communications

  • Where: Global via Enhanced Group Call satellite services
  • What: High seas warnings and forecasts, some coastal forecasts
  • Provider: Bureau of Meteorology for Australian high seas and coastal areas
  • Schedule: