Lesson #1: The Shipping Forecast

I was putzing around on the BBC Radio webpage this evening because its player volume control goes to 11 (yes!) and I noticed there’s such a thing as a shipping forecast, so I thought I’d listen to it and see what it said.

Here’s what I got: Southerly 4 or 5 becoming variable 3 or 4, moderate or rough decreasing slight or moderate, mainly fair, moderate or good.

Here’s what I understood: Southerly.

Here’s what I learned in my follow-up research: the report breaks down into layman’s terms as, “southerly winds at Beaufort force 4 (moderate breeze) or 5 (fresh breeze) changing direction at a force of 3 (gentle breeze) or 4, seas moderate (1.25 – 2.5 m) or rough (2.5 – 4 m) decreasing to slight (0.5 – 1.25 m) or moderate, weather mainly fair, visibility moderate (2-5 nautical miles) or good (over 5 nautical miles).

Other notes: If winds veer, they shift in a clockwise direction, if they are backing, they’re moving counterclockwise.

The areas sometimes have fun names like Viking (off the coast of Norway).

The Beaufort force scale has 12 levels, the highest being hurricane force.

Here’s all the terminology except for the one I most want to know the meaning of, which is “losing its identity.

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One thought on “Lesson #1: The Shipping Forecast

  1. Jenny says:

    The Shipping Forecast is a national institution. There’s a whole book about it and someone once did a performance theatre piece by reading it out! They changed some of the names of the areas a while ago but its one of the things that I adore Radio 4 for.

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