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Boaters: Should Small Craft Advisories be renamed?

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Weather plays critical role in boating safety
Weather plays critical role in boating safety (Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As part of the ongoing Hazard Simplification Project, the National Weather Service (NWS) is considering a major change to the system it uses to alert the public of weather and water hazards. The proposed new system would retain the “watch” and “warning” terms but remove the “advisory” term since years of feedback has indicated that it is generally misunderstood.

In addition, “Special Weather Statement” and “NOWcast” messages would also no longer be used. Instead, they would streamline all information that doesn’t reach the watch and warning level into a single plain-language statement, with a few exceptions.

One of these exceptions would include the “Small Craft Advisory.” In order to align marine messages with the new paradigm, and given the critical nature and use of this product in the marine community, it is being proposed to rename this Advisory to a Warning, rather than converting the Advisory to a plain-language statement.

So it is proposed that the Small Craft Advisory will now become a Small Craft Warning. This change would also align this product with all other marine Warnings so that the severity of all marine wind hazards is uniformly denoted by the first term within the headline (i.e., - Small Craft, Gale, Storm, and Hurricane Force Wind Warnings).

NWS is asking that you take a few moments to share your thoughts regarding this proposal. Click here to provide your opinion to the NWS.


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