|As early as 1904, Navy
radio offered weather information on the West Coast. With increasing
sophistication, forecasters ashore have been able to communicate predictions
to ships at sea. Information from seagoing ships on local conditions
remains important to our understanding of weather patterns.
Electronic technologies related to radio - radar, sonar depth-finders,
LORAN, radio-direction finders and GPS - have vastly increased a mariner's
ability to navigate through hazardous sea conditions. Local vessel
traffic control radio systems also assist in averting collisions during
conditions of limited visibility. Radio in all its forms - from spark-gap
to satellite microwave - has been the mariner's lifeline for help.
Radio can alert the world to the situation of the lonely mariner and
Above: Fog blankets the Golden Gate,obscuring visibility about 200
days a year. Radio weather forecasting and the Coast Guard Vessel
Traffic Service make navigating this narrow strait much safer. Photo
Staff Photographers, SFMNHP.
|Left: The tanker Tidewater battles through the seas off Cape Hatteras in 1940. No matter how strong
the vessel, there are sea conditions which can overwhelm her.
Right: Heavy weather at sea has claimed many ships. Before the days
of radio communication, ships simply "went missing" and
were never heard from again. The four-masted bark Passat is seen here. Photo SFMNHP, J9.20,808n.