Boaties around Kaikoura can now receive the latest marine weather information 24 hours a day by simply turning on their marine VHF radio.
The newly-introduced Coastguard NowCasting service provides real-time spoken information on weather conditions at critical locations within the marine VHF radio coverage area in Kaikoura and broadcasts the updates continuously on marine VHF radio channel 22.
The new service provides up-to-the-minute local marine wind strength and direction from data collection sites at Kaikoura, New Brighton and Cape Campbell, weather forecasts for sea areas Conway, Cook and Castlepoint and tide times for Kaikoura.
The Coastguard NowCasting service is one more tool in the arsenal of safety measures that all boaties should adopt before heading out on the water. An up-to-date marine weather forecast enables boaties to make better informed decisions about starting or continuing their journeys.
Wind is the most critical factor in knowing the sea conditions so Coastguard uses automatic anemometers positioned at various sites, which report wind strength and direction every 60 seconds. The wind data is bought back to a central computer and broadcast in speech on VHF radio within seconds of it being received.
The president of Coastguard Kaikoura, John Macphail, said the local Coastguard was delighted that the NowCasting site was able to go live while there was still plenty of summer left to enjoy. He encouraged boaties to make the most of the service to enhance their safety and enjoyment on the water.
The Kaikoura NowCasting site joins a network of 20 other broadcast sites already operated free of charge to boaties by Coastguard in Northland, Auckland, Kaipara, Raglan, Whitianga, Tairua, Whakatane/Tauranga, New Plymouth, Hawke's Bay, Wanganui, Nelson, Cook Strait, Canterbury, Dunedin and Southland. This additional site has been made possible through the New Zealand Community Trust.