The Shipping Forecast

One of challenges of watching “The Crown” is getting sucked into looking up British history and then being derailed by recommended articles and YouTube videos.

The latest? The shipping forecast from the BBC, BBC Radio 4 to be precise.

From a 2017 article in The Guardian:

The shipping forecast, the longest continuous weather forecast ever made, has been a public service since 1867 when it was used to warn of storms. The warnings were first issued using the electric telegraph until radio became available. Storm warnings were sent over the telegraph wires to harbours, where signals were hoisted to warn ships at sea.

I haven’t yet been able to hear it live on the BBC, but I’ve been listening on and off to this five hour audio recording of it from a few years ago.

The broadcast has a 350-word limit and its area forecasts are structured by wind direction/speed, weather and visibility. After a while, you can understand why many people find its rhythm conducive to bedtime listening.

Update: Here’s a short video from the MET Office about the history of the shipping forecast.