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' services provide global access.

VHF voice radioInformation about Correct VHF Radio usage (ACMA)

  • Where: In-shore.
  • What: Weather and maritime safety information.
  • Schedules: See providers.
  • Provider: State/territory government marine transport and safety agencies for most. Bureau, some QLD and WA
  • 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.

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HF voice radio & radiofax

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

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Internet - MarineLite

Text only webpages of the Bureau’s Marine forecasts and warnings are provided designed for mariners, such as those on cruising yachts and commercial vessels, whose offshore access is limited to satellite internet communication channels, or in areas of marginal mobile phone coverage.

  • Products available: Australian Coastal Waters forecasts and warnings, High Seas forecasts and Ocean Wind Warnings
  • URL: MarineLite

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Satellite communications

  • Where: Global via satellite
  • What: High seas warnings and forecasts, some coastal forecasts
  • Schedule:
  • Provider: Bureau for Australian high seas and coastal areas
  • Details: Inmarsat C (SafetyNET)

As part of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) the Bureau transmits via Inmarsat SafetyNET marine weather warnings and forecasts. High seas forecasts and warnings are broadcast over the Pacific Ocean satellite, whilst the Western area is broadcast over the Indian Ocean satellite. Some coastal waters forecasts are broadcast via SafetyNET and currently include Northern Territory, Western Australia and Bass Strait forecasts.

*Call costs apply (correct at time of print): for 1900 services, 77c per minute; for 1902 polling fax services, $1.38 per minute. (Call costs include GST and are higher from mobile and public phones).

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