Searching for missing boaters weather forecast

Weather conditions stay favorable in expanding search

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Weather has cooperated with search crews with 1-2 foot seas and light winds.

Rescue responders said the weather has been helpful during a Tuesday afternoon media briefing. 

They mention a tacklebox was found adrift on Monday which they believe belonged to the crew. 

It was located near the Canaveral Shoals which is a shallow area inside of the Gulf Stream. If this was from the missing boaters the location would mean the distressed vessel could have drifted less than if it disappeared in the faster flowing Gulf Stream.

Knowing exactly where to look is made difficult because the Gulf Stream moves at various speeds.

The two firefighters who went fishing on Friday off Central Florida's East Coast could be anywhere in a 24,000 square-mile area of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Gulf Stream is a challenging place to find stranded boaters, and, based on current models the two firefighters could be adrift anywhere from Jacksonville to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Light seas around a foot and gentle winds will favor search efforts through Thursday.

The forecast is for increasing southeasterly fetch to build seas to 2-3 feet through Friday. If the search extends to the end of next week models forecast a significant storm north of Bermuda (not Chantal which will remain well out in the Atlantic) which would increase seas.


The search could be narrowed down, but without an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB), rescue teams will have to search a large area from Florida's east coast to South Carolina.

If the 24-foot center console ran into trouble close to the coast the slower currents would likely put the distressed vessel farther south near Florida.

West winds may have pushed the boat farther into the Gulf Stream, where faster 4 mph currents would drift the men northward past Georgia or South Carolina.

It is unknown how a line of severe weather impacted the crew when storms pushed offshore Port Canaveral on Saturday evening with 37 mph winds measured at a buoy.

Boats adrift can be lost for months while drifting thousands of miles. 

This happened when two 14-year-old boys disappeared on a fishing trip in July 2015. The teens went missing offshore Jupiter Island Florida in an 18-foot, single-engine 1978 SeaCraft. 

The bodies were never found but the vessel was recovered in March 2016 by a Norwegian supply ship, about 170 miles east of Bermuda.  

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