Sirius Marine Weather Service
Sirius marine weather is one of two nationwide satellite radio service providers beaming radio and data information to over 7 million customers.
Well known for their entertainment radio Sirius is also a provider of satellite weather data broadcasts for both aviation and marine users.
WSI, a private weather services company, uses data from government, commercial and proprietary sources, to create timely accurate weather information, which it provides to Sirius as a bundle of weather products.
The weather products received vary depending on your selected subscription package and the hardware youre using. A partial list of specific weather products includes radar, lightning data, storm tracks, marine forecasts, buoy reports, and sea surface temperatures.
We activated our weather subscription by calling Sirius, a few minutes later our receiver was online.
We found data transmission and chart update speed to be fast. Within several minutes of turning the unit on weather data would be displayed and current.
Usually it would take a few minutes longer for all the text information to be available.
Sirius marine weather services and Raymarine claim acceptable signal strength is available all over the US as well as up to several hundred miles offshore into the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico.
Sirius Weather on a Raymarine Display
We reviewed the Sirius marine system using a Raymarine SR100 weather receiver providing the signal to Raymarine’s highly rated E120 multi-function display.
Weather information on the Raymarine unit is displayed on a generic map page rather than on the active navigation page.
The advantage here is that you can create multiple windows showing different weather products simultaneously.
The disadvantage is you cannot display weather on the active navigation page and easily plot an avoidance course.
Using the weather menu we turned on all the graphically displayed weather products. Text weather is brought onscreen by moving the cursor over an area, buoy, or storm to display additional textual information about the highlighted feature.
Other text reports like marine forecasts, marine warnings, and tropical statements are selected via soft key.
Our initial review revealed an accurate color display of radar and lightning data that included arrows showing the direction and speed of individual thunderstorm cells.
By moving the cursor over a storm more data including radar tops, precipitation type, and rainfall rate are provided.
The cursor can also be moved to get localized marine zone forecasts, tropical statements, and other marine information or warnings.
Several hours into our review we began to notice areas where information was lacking.
First off we found numerous buoy reports unavailable and the ones that were available sometimes displayed erroneous information.
Raymarine is aware of this glitch and according to a spokesman will correct it in a future software upgrade.
We also noted a lack of numerical data accompanying the color-coded wave height and sea surface temperature displays. Instead the user must place the cursor over the desired area then hit the OK button to associate a number with the color. This seems bit cumbersome to us.
Sirius Weather on a Furuno Display
According to the Furuno Product Manager, the recently released Furuno BBWX1 weather receiver does display Sirius marine weather data on the active navigation page.
It also displays a sea surface temperature color scale onscreen that includes numerical marks every 10 degrees.
He also told us the buoy data glitch noted in the Raymarine system was fixed in the Furuno software prior to its initial release.
We did not test the Furuno BBWX1 receiver.
According to our latest information, Raymarine, Furuno, and Northstar all make multi-function displays and receivers that work with the Sirius system. Boaters who use a PC for their navigation needs can get Sirius weather using WXMate from AirGator.
A $50 one-time activation fee applies to all inital Sirius weather service accounts. If your boat is only in the water for part of the year you can go month-to-month and pay a $25 reactivation fee. Sirius also offers a 6 month on 6 month off program with no reactivation fee.