Hundreds of thousands use marine forecast apps

The “MetService Marine” smartphone app is now being used on average 235,513 times a month – this is more than double last year’s rate of 112,852 times a month.

In addition, more than 100,000 boaties are using Coastguard Nowcasting via its app, VHF marine radio and text services. The app was launched 18 months ago.

“These results are great news,” Maritime New Zealand Acting Director and Chair of the Safer Boating Forum Lindsay Sturt, said.

“Check the marine weather forecast is a safer boating key message, and it is most encouraging to see such an increase in people doing just that,” Mr Sturt said.

“Boaties have to sure it is a marine forecast they are using. Land forecasts are different are will not help you on a boat.”

Land and general forecasts do not take into account wind speed over water (which is double that over land) or the waves or swell. If a land forecast does give wind speed, it is in km/hr and that is an indicator that you are listening to the wrong forecast.

“Bad weather makes the environment on board a boat extremely hazardous. Too many recreational boating fatalities happen because of bad weather. Add to that weather related injuries, boats sinking, damage, and the cost of rescue, and then you see why checking the marine forecast is so important,” Mr Sturt said.

MetService General Manager Corporate Affairs, Jacqui Bridges, said the beauty of MetService Marine is its simplicity.

“It is a great way to bring the marine forecast to life in an easy to use way,” Ms Bridges said.

MetService Marine opens with today’s recreational marine forecast for the default location of your choice, and includes forecasts for all New Zealand coastal and recreational marine areas, severe weather, tide, rain radar and other information.

It works hand-in-hand with Maritime NZ’s “Marine Mate” app. MarineMate uses your location and provides bylaws about lifejackets, speed limits, boat ramp locations, towing access lanes, fishing rules and much more.

Coastguard Nowcasting provides up-to-the-minute live wind data, including direction, actual peak and average speeds, forecasts, situations and tide information.

MetService Marine has been downloaded 90,000 times, MarineMate has been downloaded 35,000 times, and the Nowcasting app has been downloaded 8,500 times.

All three apps are available from the App Store and Google Play. MetService Marine and MarineMate are free, and Nowcasting costs $1.29.