Weather Routing

With the advent of more powerful PC’s and good satellite communications shore based weather routing has advanced. For example BonVoyage System provides the most recent weather and ocean data to the ship by broadband or email communications in a compressed format in order to minimize communications costs. The officer can view and interpret the information which is presented in the form of maps and graphics. The system also includes an algorithm that allows the delivery of estimates of fuel cost and time en-route.

In May 2012 the BonVoyage System was integrated with Transas’ Electronic Chart Display Navigation System (ECDIS) to help captains fully optimize their voyage planning. This now allows the data transfer from BVS to Transas Navi-Sailor ECDIS and vice-versa. In December 2013 BonVoyage System has been integrated with UKHO’s Admiralty e-Navigator and ChartCo’s Passage manager and has therefore the capability to interchange track waypoints with the above mentioned systems.

The combination between the BonVoyage System and the Ship route advisory Services allows the transfer of route data between ship and shore, a graphical depiction of weather, routes and currents through BVS, detailed current data with tidal streams, 16 day forecast 4 times a day etc.(Integrated Routing)

The Vessel Optimization and Safety System (VOSS) from Ocean Systems Inc. and Oceanweather Inc. is another provider of weather and oceanographic conditions forecast; global wind and wave models are generated for 10 days of forecast 365 days a year (as shown in below figure).


The twice daily forecast is available on 1.25 x 2.5 degree Lon/Lat global grid with update of global circulation -currents. Data include tropical cyclone tracks, 500 hPa heights, surface pressure, wind speed and direction. Accuracy of the forecast is enhanced by real-time ingestion of satellite wind and wave measurements (as shown in below figure), ocean buoys and ship observations, as well as by experienced meteorologists.


The VOSS system also provides customized ship response predictions with user specified loading conditions. The ship motion program takes into account voluntary speed reduction based on vessel motions propeller/engine limitations, allows user to simulate multiple routes for comparison. It also predicts roll and pitch motion, accelerations, slamming, bending moment, shear force, speed, power and RPM using forecast or user input sea and swell conditions.

Another algorithm is offered within this system for minimum time and minimum cost routes over a range of arrival times without exceeding the Safe Operating Envelope (SOE)

For further general weather routing information see

1. UK Met office