Weather forecast change for Apostle Islands boaters, paddlers, sailors, is now in effect

In an effort to improve boater safety, changes made by the National Weather Service will result in marine forecasts and alerts targeted specifically to an area in the Apostle Islands that had been covered by offshore forecasts.

The Weather Service Forecast Office in Duluth is removing a large portion of the offshore zone (in purple) and turning it into a near shore zone, which includes the Apostle Islands beyond 5 nautical miles from the mainland. This change allows forecasters to deliver marine forecasts and small craft advisories tailored to the unique conditions in the islands.

National Weather Service graphic

In announcing the change, the Weather Service said, “adding this area to a near shore forecast allows small craft advisories to be issued for this geographical area which is a huge advantage due to the high density of inexperienced mariners in this nationally recognized destination (Apostle Island National Lakeshore).

There have been incidents where users of our forecast would not have noted the wind shifts that occur around these islands if they were solely using the offshore forecast. An example of this is on August 30, 2018, several people perished while kayaking in this area which occurred within an “Open Waters” zone.”

How to access the new forecast zone:

The Weather Service said, “Lake Superior is not another inland lake—in fact it is considered an inland sea. Make sure that you have proper equipment, training, and communication devices (other than a cell phone) before heading out on the lake.”

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