[QUOTE=flyboy14295;187796]The program we were using gave updated worldwide weather info to include sea, swell, wind, and everything else. Updated every 4 hours.
In terms of accesibility, I was the Third Mate, all officers knew how to use the program. I found it quite efficient, and accurate to what I was looking at outside.[/QUOTE]
Yes, I use a weather/routing program, I sometimes rely upon it heavily. If the weather is complex, for example sailing Great Circle through the Bering Sea in winter, I always use it for ETA, minimum track time, expected vessel motion etc.
I invest a lot of time into it, sometimes reviewing the situation several times a day. It is the fastest, most convenient way to get an understanding of the weather situation.
By contrast using the SAFETYNET text forecast alone it is really not possible to understand the situation. But they were never intended to be used that way, Back in the day that was what the Radio FAX was used for. But having a current WX FAX would never have been considered a substitute for the text.
Here is the offshore forecast for my area today.
429 AM EDT TUE JUL 26 2016
.SYNOPSIS FOR NEW ENGLAND WATERS…A WARM FRONT OVER THE FAR E
WATERS WILL LIFT NE OF THE AREA TODAY AS A LOW PRES TROUGH PASSES
E ACROSS THE REGION. A WEAK COLD FRONT WILL PASS SE ACROSS THE
WATERS THIS AFTERNOON INTO WED. ANOTHER WEAK COLD FRONT WILL
APPROACH FROM THE NW WED NIGHT AND THU…MOVE OFFSHORE THU
NIGHT…THEN BECOME NEARLY STATIONARY ACROSS THE AREA FRI INTO
SAT. DEVELOPING LOW PRES ALONG THE FRONT WILL MOVE E OFF THE MID
ATLC COAST NEAR CAPE MAY LATE FRI NIGHT INTO EARLY SAT AND PASS E
THROUGH THE SRN WATERS LATER SAT AND SAT NIGHT.
I would print this out and read it while looking at the weather progam, (sometimes they don’t match).
Finally, for just a simple summary, this…
W TO SW WINDS 5 TO 15 KT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT. SCATTERED
SHOWERS AND TSTMS. AREAS OF FOG WITH VSBY 1 NM OR LESS.
W TO NW WINDS 5 TO 15 KT…BECOMING N TO NW. SEAS 1 TO 3 FT.
This should be posted and kept current for quick and easy access.
One of the issues with the routing programs is that they are based on the same data as SAFETYNET. There is a several hour delay between the two paths. Like ARPA it doesn’t matter if the targets are far away but if the ship is passing close to a system getting the lastest as soon as possible can be important, especialy in fast changing situations.