Good weather is critical for a safe and enjoyable trip so it is important to always obtain an up-to-date weather forecast before going boating.
A weather forecast will include information on wind direction and speed, as well as the state of the sea and swell. If the weather is not suitable, cancel your trip.
Routine forecasts and observation reports for coastal waters areas within 60 nautical miles of the coast and larger inland lakes are issued twice daily.
Warnings are also issued whenever strong winds, gales, storm-force or greater winds are expected, and are renewed every six hours.
Wind alerts are issued for South East Coast, South West Coast and Central Plateau Lakes as required.
There are many ways of obtaining an up to date forecast for any of the Tasmanian Coastal Waters areas and the larger Central Plateau and South West Lakes.
Routine boating forecasts are issued for nine Tasmanian coastal regions as well as inland waters such as larger Central Plateau and South West Lakes.
The Bureau of Meteorology issues forecasts for all these regions twice daily at 5.00am and 4.00pm.
MAST Telephone Weather Service
Forecasts on this system are updated twice daily. The service is the cost of a local call and you can get a forecast for your area by dialling one of the numbers listed below.
Southern Tasmania (03) 6233 9955
Northern Tasmania (03) 6323 2555
Eastern Tasmania (03) 6376 0555
North-West Tasmania (03) 6498 7755
The Bureau of Meteorology Phone Service
Boating weather forecasts, warnings and observations – 1900 969 940 (Cost 77 cents / min)
Phone 1300 659 216 for all current warnings (Cost of a local call).
Save these numbers into your mobile phone.
The Bureau of Meteorology website provides access to weather forecasts and weather observations.
Meteye is an online mapping tool or Geographic Information System (GIS) used to visualise weather data for Australia.
The ‘Meteye‘ system allows you to easily search for your local weather data, save your favourite locations and combine the latest weather and forecast weather on one map (rain radar, cloud, temperature, rainfall, wind, waves).
The Bureau of Meteorology also has a new mobile weather website for smartphone users which is a condensed and reformatted version of the full Bureau website, customised for small screens.
The mobile site URL is m.bom.gov.au.
Current weather forecasts are available via VHF radio. Volunteer coastal radio stations broadcast forecasts at particular times and can provide a forecast upon request at any other time.
Warnings and forecasts are broadcast by these groups on both VHF Channel 16 and 67.
Many radio stations broadcast comprehensive weather forecasts.
Wind direction is given in 8 compass points for forecasts and 16 for observations and is the direction the wind is coming from.
Wave height is the vertical distance between the top of the crest and the bottom of the trough.
Wind speed refers to the average speed over a 10 minute period at a height of 10 metres above the surface and is given in knots. A knot (kn) is equal to a speed of one nautical mile per hour. Note: 10 knots = 18.5 km/h and 10km/h = 5.4 knots.
Gusts may be up to 40 per cent stronger than the average speed.
A squall is an abrupt and large increase of wind speed with a duration in the order of minutes which diminishes rather suddenly.
Wave and swell heights are described in terms of significant wave height which represents the average of the highest one-third of waves. Some waves will be higher and some lower than the significant wave height. Typically one in 2000 waves will be twice this height.
King/Freak/Rogue waves occur when wind waves and/or a combination of swell waves join to produce a very high wave. These waves can be much larger than the significant wave height.
Wind and Warning Categories
Coastal waters wind warnings issued by the Bureau are categorised as follows :
Strong Wind Warning: Winds averaging from 26 knots and up to 33 knots
Gale Warning: Winds averaging from 34 knots and up to 47 knots
Storm Force Wind Warning: Winds averaging from 48 knots and up to 63 knots
Hurricane Force Wind Warning: Winds averaging 64 knots or more
Inland waters wind alerts are issued for winds averaging 20 knots or more.
Conversion: 1 knot = 1 nautical mile per hour = 1.85 kilometres per hour.
Note: Wind speed is a ten minute average and gusts may be up to 40% stronger
Strong wind warnings for coastal waters area only