On most ocean passages, you’ll see ships passing near and far. And there are even more ships fairly close by that you don’t see because they are just below the horizon. Many of those ships are recording weather data and sending it to the National Weather Service. Would be great to get those reports from ships in your corner of the ocean. That would provide you with valuable data on what is actually happening compared to what the forecast told you would happen. Turns out Starpath Navigation in Seattle offers a free service that allows you to get those ship reports.
From the press release: Now a simple email request will get you all the ship reports within 300 nmi of your location at sea that were transmitted over the past six hours to the Voluntary Observing Ship program, worldwide. Just send an email to email@example.com with your lat/long in the first line of the body of the message (in decimal degrees as shown below) and you will get the reports back by return mail. The first line should be blank other than that location. This is a free service compliments of Starpath School of Navigation, who also offers a free barometer calibration service at www.starpath.com/barometers. Here are two samples you can try: approach to New York City (40.123N, 72.456W) and the approach to Bremerhaven in the North Sea (55.60N, 3.50E)… or try anywhere you choose. For more information, instructions, and abbreviations used, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “ help “ in the subject line.