The shipping forecast

I started work on this piece a few weeks ago, when the UK was being hit by violent storms. My thoughts turned to those at sea. I can’t imagine anything quite as terrifying as being out on a boat when the weather turns against you. (Having spent one Christmas as a child on a ship going through the Bay of Biscay in a Force 10 gale, I guess the memory stays with you for a long time. I’ve never really fancied a cruise since then.)

The shipping forecast is given on the radio each day for those at sea who really need to know what’s in store. As a child, if ever I happened to catch the forecast on the radio, I had no idea what any of it meant. It was just a stream of sounds, and quite soothing to listen to. You can find out more and hear an example here.

I think the names of the sea areas around the British Isles are lovely. And, because they are always read in the same order in the broadcasts, they become as memorable as a poem you learnt by heart at school.



6 thoughts on “The shipping forecast

    • Thanks Anna – I think the shipping forecast sends non-sailors into a kind of trance. I bet the real sailors hang on to every syllable!

  1. I agree! It brings back wonderful memories of evenings listening to the forecast with gale winds and rain splashing against the window, and thinking how it would be like for those at sea! I think the shipping forecast is one of those intangible national treasures, such as Desert Island Discs or the tube warning “Mind the Gap!

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