If you live in the UK, have you ever listened to the shipping forecast? (I’m sure other countries with a coastline have a similar service.) For anyone with connections to the sea, it’s a must.
My father worked most of his life on or around the sea, and made a point of listening to these bulletins. Being a young girl, I didn’t appreciate the importance then of the information, but if I tried to say something, I was ‘shushed’ in no uncertain way.
The shipping forecast is broadcast four times a day on the radio, (Radio 4) twice during the day and twice at night. Not only is it fascinating, but for me it can be a cure for insomnia during the hours of darkness. (Perhaps I should send apologies to the readers of the forecasts as that is obviously not their intention.) The names of the shipping areas intrigue and occasionally mystify me, others are more recognisable, such as Dover, Wight. I’d no idea where North or South Utsire are, until I had a look at the web-site for the shipping forecast. They are areas, with islands, off the coast of Norway by all accounts. There are thirty-one sea areas on the map for the forecast.
The information is provided by the Meteorological Office and gives news of wind-speed and direction, gale warnings, visibility and current weather conditions. This knowledge is essential for mariners of any description, be it private sailing boats, fishing boats, merchant ships or liners. Everyone who goes to sea takes note, and acts accordingly, or they should.
I’d be interested to know from others around the world how their shipping forecasts compare to ours.