Feeds

Beeb storm cockup: Wrong day's shipping forecast read

But sailors shouldn't really be using Radio 4 anymore

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Proof, if it were needed, that voice in general and the BBC in particular are foolish ways to transmit important information was provided by Radio 4 earlier this month when an announcer read out the shipping forecast for the wrong day - during one of the stormiest weekends of the year.

Parts of the first shipping forecast transmitted on Sunday November 15 - specifically the storm force winds - were actually the same ones sent out early on the previous day. This led to confusion for ships and boats in UK and adjacent waters, as the Force 11 winds predicted off the West Country had actually passed, while other regions were being hard hit.

The Telegraph quotes Radio 4 bigwig David Anderson as putting the blame on human error by an announcer.

“The late night announcer at the end of the shift pulled out an email of what she thought was the right shipping forecast and read it out completely unaware it was the wrong forecast.

“All I can say is that I am most terribly sorry we got that wrong this was a big error on our part.”

The Shipping Forecast is a longstanding Beeb tradition, with many people who have never set foot on a deck vaguely familiar with its distinctively named reporting areas. It has been aired since the 1920s, and in its day it actually was a service for shipping.

Professional seafarers nowadays tend to receive the shipping forecast by other, automated means - typically via the NAVTEX text receivers that all vessels of any size must carry as part of their mandatory safety equipment. Other and more detailed met products are also typically available on a modern bridge.

Yachtsmen and small craft still listen to the forecast on voice radios. However, even these will mostly tend to use the inshore-waters Marine VHF broadcasts made by coastguard stations if they know what they're doing, rather than tuning in to the less detailed national picture on Radio 4.

Not a vastly important blunder by the Beeb, then - at least, not any more. But it does reinforce the lesson that one does well to rely on the professionals - Met office, Coastguard etc, not the BBC or any other media/entertainment organisation - when lives are at stake. ®

Lewis Page spent the years from 1993 to 2004 in the Royal Navy, much of the time as a bridge watchstanding officer.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.