Marine Weather

The weather can make a dramatic difference to your day on the water, and adverse weather can be dangerous.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Maritime radio channels will be changing on 1 October 2016

On 1 October 2016 New Zealand, along with a number of other countries, is required to change a number of maritime VHF repeater channels. These changes are being made to make space for newly allocated services for international ship tracking and data services which will ensure New Zealand VHF radio services are compatible with the rest of the world.

The changes will largely affect Coastguard VHF and NowCasting channels; our VHF map and Nowcasting map show both the old and new channels.

It is important to note that although some maritime channels will be changing, the existing marine Channel 16 used for safety and distress purposes will not change.

No one should need to buy a new VHF Radio to access the new VHF or NowCasting channels. All current VHF radios will be able to access the new channels, Once the switch has been made, the old channel will immediately become obsolete – there will be no simultaneous running of both channels.


  1. You will not need a new VHF Radio to access the new channels
  2. Channel 16 – the marine distress channel is not changing
  3. Current channels are effective up until 1 October, 2016
  4. New channels will take effect from or around 1 October, 2016 (or once the work has been completed on each repeater site)
  5. See the VHF or Nowcasting map for changes in your area.


It’s vital that you obtain a weather forecast before you go boating, understand what effect it will have and continue to monitor the weather while you are out.

A marine weather forecast will be needed if you are boating on the sea. Mountain and/or land forecast may be your best option when boating on lakes.


Weather forecasts and other useful information such as tide times are broadcast by Coastguard's Nowcasting service on dedicated VHF channels at many popular boating areas.

Check out the Coastguard NowCasting map pdf

Mobile Apps are now available for download from iTunes or Google Play.

 Nowcasting Ap 500W

Marine weather forecasts

Marine weather forecasts are available on the Metservice website

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