BoatUS supports proposal to simplify critical warning messages;NWS invites boaters to weigh in
SPRINGFIELD, Va., April 15, 2020 — In a move that could simplify and potentially reduce misunderstanding of urgent weather messages used by recreational boaters to make critical boating safety decisions, the National Weather Service (NWS) has proposed renaming “Small Craft Advisory” to “Small Craft Warning” and is asking for boaters’ feedback. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) urges boaters to speak up now by taking a NWS survey for recreational boaters at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VZGX6BF. The survey closes May 24, 2020.
“Every day they go boating, boat owners check the weather and then make the decision to either head out or not,” said BoatUS Government Affairs Manager David Kennedy. “We think the name change will help clarify what this means, leading to a better understanding of the severity of a marine weather forecast, and help give recreational boaters the information they need to make smart choices about boating safely.”
For decades, NWS has used the Watch, Warning, and Advisory (WWA) system to alert users about forecasted hazards, but it has recognized this can be confusing. The proposal to rename a “Small Craft Advisory” to a “Small Craft Warning” is part of a larger effort to reduce the messages to just two flagship headline terms: Watch and Warning. NOAA also says the name change would better align with all other marine warnings – Gale, Storm, and Hurricane Force Wind – leading to greater understanding by recreational boaters.
Changing from an “advisory” to “warning” would not change the term’s definition or meaning. While there is no precise definition of a “small craft,” today a “Small Craft Advisory” is issued when sustained wind speeds or frequent gusts have reached 20 to 33 knots and/or seas or waves 4 feet and greater and/or waves or seas are potentially hazardous. The requirements vary slightly by region, and local conditions may also dictate issuing a Small Craft Advisory.
About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):
Celebrating more than 50 years, BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with more than a half-million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We are The Boat Owners Auto Club and help ensure a roadside trailer breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins. When boats break down on the water, TowBoatUS brings them safely back to the launch ramp or dock, 24/7. The BoatUS Marine Insurance Program offers policies that give boat owners affordable, specialized coverage and superior service they need. We help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.