After testing Sirius satellite weather on the chartplotter, I signed up for the service myself. Since I take my kids out on offshore adventures that may range 60 to 70 miles from the boat ramp, I wanted to be darn sure I knew what weather was coming, and how to avoid it. And avoid it we have, several times now, thanks to real-time satellite weather.
A few months ago, I was talking with a friend about it when he whipped out his cell phone, and brought up a real-time weather radar on an ap. What a fool I had been! The ap cost him all of five bucks, while I was spending $30 a month to get Sirius. Of course, cells don’t work when you’re miles and miles offshore. So I justified the expense by thinking about those times we’re out on blue water. Yes, the bulk of the fishing trips we take are on the bay or nearer the coast, so the usefulness of Sirius, though down-graded in my mind, was still worth the cost.
Yesterday, my way of looking at weather service changed once again. We drove towards the boat ramp for an afternoon of bay fishing, with a 40 percent chance of thunder boomers in the forecast. As we got close the skies grew dark, and it began sprinkling. When we pulled into the ramp parking lot, a flash of lightening went through the sky and the clouds opened up. We parked the rig and ran up to the pavilion, where a dozen-odd other boaters were also taking cover, waiting for the storm to pass. One of the guys whipped out his cell phone, and said he’d pull up the current radar shot. Relieved I didn’t have to run through the rain to fire up the chartplotter, I watched over his shoulder, along with several others, as his fingers played across the screen. “Hmmm…” he said. “Something isn’t working right.” Despite several tries, he couldn’t pull it up. As we all know, the worst thing about cell phones and tapping into the internet with them is relatively low reliability, especially when compared to something like Sirius satellite, which is nearly 100 percent reliable.
Soon, the clouds broke and it appeared as though the worst of the storm had passed. As the guy with the cell phone jumped in his boat and roared off, I climbed onto my boat, turned on Sirius, and soon saw a huge line of severe thunder storms tracking right for us. We packed up and drove for home – through intense downpours, lightening, and heavy winds. What about the guy with the cell phone? I’ll bet he wished had satellite weather, instead.