Thursday, August 23, 2007

Crooked Island, Bahamas

In a blog, buried somewhere back in the Samana files, I expressed my panic at the prospect of losing high-frequency weather forecasts, which NOAA has been threatening to cut since July 1. I gave the link that they were broadcasting, which, of course, doesn’t work. Now I’ve procrastinated making a comment until the day before the comments are due, but if anyone reads this before midnight tomorrow, you could really help us out by going on the NOAA website and giving a desperate cry for help.

Here’s the link:

It’s of course extremely complicated bureaucratese, but basically you have to fill out the form. The Docket ID is: USCG–2007–27656
The Operating Administration is: USCG (the US Coast Guard)
The Docket Type is: Regulatory
The Docket Existence: Does Exist
The Document Title: choose what you wish, but I used “High frequency weather absolutely necessary”
Submission Method: Enter Comment

Here’s what I wrote in the comment field, but feel free to add whatever you’d like. Maybe lots of desperate pleading will work, or threats of class-action lawsuits if your favorite blogger dies on the high seas, or dropping the names of any high-profile senators you happen to play golf with. Whatever. (The second paragraphs will easily lift out in a copy-and-paste if you’re feeling lazy.)

To Whom It May Concern:

I am currently the navigator on a crew of two of a 33-foot sailboat cruising through the Bahamas and the Caribbean. NOAA's broadcast of weather via high-frequency radio waves is our only method of obtaining marine weather forecasts. It is absolutely essential to our well-being. In fact, we purchased a shortwave radio receiver at great expense a month before the federal register notice was published, solely for receiving high-frequency weather broadcasts.

Especially during hurricane season, the loss of the ability to receive weather forecasts via high-frequency radio waves would cause mass dislocation in the cruising community and almost certainly a loss of life. Both voice and weatherfax transmissions are essential. Almost all cruising guidebooks refer to the NOAA HF broadcasts as the essential source for marine weather while offshore passage-making, and all of the amateur SSB weather-nets use the NOAA data as their original source. Mariners would probably be forced to use substandard weather forecasts on AM radio, or attempt to access weather from the British Admiralty.

Please reconsider canceling this essential marine service that has been provided to mariners for generations. Even in sailing narratives from the fifties and sixties, captains depended on shortwave broadcasts of weather for their safety. If the service is canceled, all our lives will be in danger.

Melissa Jenks
s/v Secret


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
An-Magritt said...

Hey Melissa!
I have attempted to lodge a comment on the site that you mentioned, but it did not go through, I am afraid. Prayers for continued safety in your travels, my sailing friend:)

Anonymous said...


You have mail!

Bob Bailey

Anonymous said...

I am really impressed by bbbbailey's generosity! I'm wondering if this offer came to full fruit.

Just back from BKK and trying to catch up with you.


Melissa said...


Read above to find the latest news--exciting, isn't it?