Whether your on-water outings are on a kayak, center console, or luxury cruising yacht, you’ll encounter a variety of boating conditions while underway on the Chesapeake. Knowing a few basic weather forecasting skills will increase your enjoyment and improve the safety and comfort of your outings, which is why we’ve once again invited professional weather forecaster Mark Thornton to teach a three-part marine weather webinar in March. 

marine weather
This three-part marine weather webinar will focus on a variety of topics to help you have a safer and more enjoyable time on the water. Photo by David Sites

Although he’s admitted he’s not one for small talk, Mark is always excited to talk about weather, how it forms, and how you can hone your forecasting skills. In years past, he’s focused specifically on thunderstorms on the Chesapeake, but this year, his scope will be wider. “Marine Weather 101 - Chesapeake Bay” will teach you how to interpret weather maps, prepare a wind and wave forecast, and recognize the potential for thunderstorms on the Bay. You will also learn where to find marine weather forecasts and how to use Doppler Weather radar to monitor thunderstorms. 

Seminar topics will include how to decode the confusing symbols, color shading, and meteorological shorthand on weather forecast maps; weather forecasting apps; understanding the thunderstorm life cycle; forecasting waves, wind, and precipitation; and how to create a daily forecast routine. These skills will improve your boat trip planning and reduce the likelihood that you will be exposed to uncomfortable or hazardous weather conditions.

Originally a sailor, Mark now owns Osprey, a Mainship 34 Pilot. His interest in weather forecasting grew from his experiences cruising and racing on the Great Lakes. Mark is a 2006 graduate of the Penn State University Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting, a two-year program that develops skills in general, tropical, and severe weather forecasting. He is the president of LakeErieWX LLC, a company dedicated to providing marine weather education and forecasting resources for recreational boaters (lakeeriewx.com). Mark publishes a marine weather blog, teaches basic forecasting seminars to recreational boaters during the off-season, and is on the faculty at Cruisers University during the Annapolis Boat Shows.

The webinar will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays March 6, 13, and 20. Whereas we encourage attending these sessions live to take advantage of Mark’s insightful answers to student questions, don’t worry if you can’t attend one of them. Each session will be recorded and made available to all registered attendees until July 1. All three sessions combined will cost $80. 

Gather your boating or yacht club friends and sign up together for a better and safer on-water 2024! Register at spinsheet.com/marine-weather-webinar