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Thread: Marine Forcast

  1. #1

    Default Marine Forcast

    What is considered a "small craft" when there is a Small Craft Warning? Anything under 100 ft? 50 feet? I know my boat is a "Small Craft" but I was just wonderin'...

  2. #2


    It is issued when winds have reached, or are expected to reach within 12 hours, a speed marginally less than gale force. Criteria for this vary in different localities; sometimes a range of 19 to 24 miles per hour (17 to 21 knots) is observed, or in some places 17 to 23 miles per hour (15 to 19 knots) may be used. The National Weather Service does not specifically identify what constitutes a "small craft," although the United States Coast Guard informally assigns the designation to boats with a total length of less than33 feet (10 m). The insignia that denotes a small craft advisory is one red, triangular flag (two such flags, one placed above the other, signify agale warning). It's a perfect way to judge if your comfortable in going out, NOAA has Bouys like number 51 just into Port Wells that give excellent data to make that determination

  3. #3
    Member ocnfish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    I just look at it this way .... When Noaa is talking SCA, it means ... NO FUN ON THE WATER, beginning with the docks. I usually look at a few bouys and wave height and forcast and surface charts before heading out. 5 to 7 ft seas are usually my limit for an adventure in a 26 ft Osprey, because of its design and features it can take far bigger seas but again it is not fun.

  4. #4
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Kodiak, Ak


    I believe it is pretty much left to the craft owner to determine if what they're venturing out in, is small or not as they usually follow up with an approx. Wave height to be expected.
    Some folks will tear out into a Small Craft advisory with a 12ft Zodiac, expecting a great time. Others can be really nervous on a 42ft Cabin Cruiser, in the same weather, when the galley table starts dumping coffee cups.
    But the idea is, "Hey you smaller guys, (probably intending, as mentioned above, anything less than 33ft) pay attention, might not be so friendly out there."

    Note, that they call them "Advisories," at the SCA level, then become "Warnings," at the Gale or Storm level

    I personally, would really caution against putting too much stock in the wave height approximation as there are too many variables dictating to what will be happening at any one area.
    Like tidal action, for example, can reduce wave hgt temporarily, or grwatly magnify it for a while.
    I'd advise paying attention to the wind direction and speed, consider the terrain you'll be working around, with attention paid to "gusts out of bays and passes, etc.
    Then make a call depending on what your past experience is with your vessel.
    Decide what you are comfortable with, as well as your passengers, of course,
    and then, let NO ONE ELSE, influence you, in what you do with the boat you know, and are responsible for.

    The more experience you get with different wind speeds and directions, the more confident you'll be with what your boat can do well

    Good Thread Question, by the way
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !


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