Previously recorded America's Boating Club Webinars

The 500 millibar chart is a powerful forecasting tool readily available at no cost to boaters. Learn how to use it and you’ll see why it has earned a special place in the mariner’s toolkit.

The webinar is led by an expert meteorologist, Joe Sienkiewicz, a Branch Chief at the National Weather Service’s Ocean Prediction. Center.

The 500 mb Chart shows the:

  • speed and direction of the winds aloft that steer large scale storms,
  • trough and ridge patters which enhance and inhibit surface storm development.

You’ll learn which weather patterns on the chart are associated with the likelihood of particular surface conditions. Examples include:

  • long and short waves with storm generation; 
  • zonal and meridional air flow with fair and foul weather; 
  • blocking ridges and cut-off lows with persisting weather.

You’ll also learn about the special 5640 line because surface storm tracks tend to parallel  it 300 to 600 nautical miles to the north. North of the line the winds tend to be stronger and south of the line, weaker.

An America's Boating Club® Webinar.
Originally broadcast: 9/23/2014
Duration: 1 hr 0 m



Webinar test platform

Learn how to prevent and prepare for emergencies on board. Do you know the most common marine emergencies? How to address them? What about, handling medical emergencies and the communications needed to deal with any emergency afloat.

This webinar features three experienced boaters who are knowledgeable on all types of marine emergencies, as well as the best approaches for handling medical emergencies and the communications needed to deal with any emergency afloat. Although this webinar is not geared specifically for the blue water sailor, it provides a strong foundation for wherever your boat takes you.

The webinar covers:

  • Marine Emergencies
    • Severe weather
    • Equipment damage
    • Fire
    • Man Overboard
    • Grounding
    • Collision
    • Sinking
    • Abandoning ship
  • Medical Emergencies
    • Preparing to handle emergencies
    • Heart attacks
    • Strokes
    • Drowning
    • Head injury
    • Bleeding
    • Burns
    • Fracture
    • Hypothermia
    • Heat Stroke
    • Seasickness
  • Communication of Emergencies
    • Electronic
    • Non-electronic

This same content is covered in America’s Boating Club’s Boat Handling course section 5-Emergencies on Board: Preparation for Handling Common Problems taught in the classroom or as a Virtual Classroom Seminar online. Whichever way you go, Emergencies on Board is a must for every boater. If it’s been a few years since you’ve reviewed the material this webinar is a great refresher.

An America's Boating Club® Webinar.
Originally broadcast: 03/20/2018
Duration: 1 hr 46m

Learn about modern weather forecasting and the giant computer models that are the basis of forecasting. After providing some historical context, the webinar gets right to the foundation of the modern forecasting process – the giant computer models that are the basis for all professionally produced weather predictions.

Most importantly for boaters, the webinar describes the types of forecasts, GRIDS and GRIBS, that these models have made possible, their strengths and weaknesses, how to get them at no cost anywhere in the world, and how to use them in electronic chart plotting.

Well-researched and expertly presented, the topics covered include:

  • A Brief History of Weather Forecasting;
  •  Numerical Weather Prediction
  •  NWS Gridded Forecasts
  •  GRIB Forecasts
  • OpenCPN Weather Chart Overlays

Digging deeper than most weather topics, this webinar contains some advanced material. If you are looking for just the fundamentals of weather, America’s Boating Club interactive online seminar Weather for Boaters may be for you.

An America's Boating Club® Webinar.
Originally broadcast: 11/15/2016
Duration: 1 hr 56m


Learn the dynamics of storms and forecasting them including Skew-T plots, sounding data and weather radar. This webinar goes beyond the fundamentals and into advanced topics in understanding and forecasting weather.

Take the mystery out of storm forecasting by learning about the dynamics of storms and the sources you can access to forecast them. Surface weather maps depict the horizontal flow of weather systems. But, understanding vertical airflow is the key to understanding and forecasting thunderstorms and severe weather.

The principal presenter is Jared Guyer – an expert storm forecaster and meteorologist with the Operations Branch at the Storm Prediction Center of the National Weather Service. He introduces the tools – Skew-T plots, sounding data and weather radar, that are used in storm forecasting. Joining him is Ronald Kessel, a contributing author of much of America’s Boating Club’s weather curriculum materials.

The webinar topics include:

  • A Review of Thunderstorms
  • Sounding Diagrams and Data
  • Weather Radar
  • Professional Forecasts.

A downloadable PDF Reference Guide is included for you to keep as a reference.

Delving deeper than most weather topics, this webinar contains some advanced material. If you are looking for just the fundamentals of weather, America’s Boating Club interactive online seminar Weather for Boaters may be for you.

An America's Boating Club® Webinar.
Originally broadcast: 09/22/2015
Duration: 1 hr 52m

Take a deep-dive into tidal and ocean currents effect on navigation planning and underway decisions. You'll also learn how to use navigation software that includes the effect of current on your route. 

 After a brief history and an overview of current research, you'll learn how currents affect the movement of our oceans, including where to find and how to retrieve tidal current and open ocean current data.

You'll learn how to use navigation software before and during a cruise to evaluate what effect the current will have on your route. You’ll learn about software that can retrieve and use Real-Time Ocean Forecast System (RTOFS) current data, featuring demonstrations of OpenCPN and TIMEZERO TZ Navigator software.

Part I

  • Physical oceanographic basics
  • The major wind-driven ocean surface currents
  • Factors facilitating these currents

Part II

  • Weather
  • Wind, Sea State, and Current
  • Forecasting Models

Part III

  • Weather Information Sources
  • Route Planning Methods
  • Types of Ocean Currents
  • Navigation Software
An America's Boating Club® Webinar.
Originally broadcast: 11/14/2017
Duration: 1 hr 44m
Learn how ocean waves are generated, how to access wave data and forecasts, and navigation software that includes the effect on waves on your route. You will learn all about ocean waves and how they affect navigation planning before launch and while underway. Well-researched and expertly presented, the topics covered include:
  • A brief history of the contributors to this field of oceanography
  • The process of wave generation
  • How ocean waves can affect boat handling
  • How wave height increases to dangerous levels when encountering opposing ocean currents, estuary and river flows at coastal inlets particularly on ebb tides
  • Where to find and retrieve nearshore and open ocean wave data including the NOAA Forecast models Wave Watch III and the Nearshore Wave Prediction System The National Weather Service wind/wave advisory guidelines and how they present wave forecast information in several of their weather products
  • Navigation software can retrieve and use NOAA wave data generated by Wave Watch III. OpenCPN and zyGrib will be demonstrated to evaluate what effect the waves will have on your route

An America's Boating Club® Webinar.
Originally broadcast: 10/09/2018
Duration: 1 hr 40m



PWCs are fun, and as powerful machines, pose unique challenges and dangers. Understand and handle yours properly.

In this beginner-oriented webinar, you’ll gain valuable skills to help you operate your personal watercraft with confidence, so you can focus on having fun. In this 90-minute session, each of the five professionally produced instructional videos is followed by personal watercraft experts answering user’s questions.

Topics covered include:

  • Departing from a dock or shoreline
  • Performing a pivot turn
  • Getting up and operating on plane
  • Making emergency stops
  • Handling a roll-over and getting back onboard
  • Docking in varying wind and current conditions

Previously presented and recorded, this beginner oriented webinar is great for parents to share with their children just getting started or a great refresher for all PWC operators.  A downloadable PDF Reference Guide is included for you to keep as a reference.

An America's Boating Club® Webinar.
Originally broadcast: 05/08/2018
Duration: 1 hr 30m


You may be very knowledgeable about handling your boat. But before you consider going out on the water and staying there all night or for a year, there is much to know about actually living in a small space away from land or a store or even being short another pair of hands when things have gone awry. The longer you are out on the water, the more planning is needed.

This webinar covers nine topics:

  1. How to start planning a cruise
  2. Living aboard
  3. Galley management
  4. Water management
  5. Safe weather planning
  6. Health Management
  7. Communications
  8. Money management
  9. Other considerations that you may have overlooked

Previously presented, this webinar provides a top-level overview of what you need to plan and consider to smooth out the rough spots in living aboard and set your mind at ease.

An America’s Boating Club® Webinar
Originally Broadcast November 13, 2018
Duration: 1h 03m