Watches Advisories and Warnings Defined

The National Weather Services used three types of warnings when referring to hazardous weather or hydrologica events.  To see the NWS definitions visit

The Harbormaster at the Great Salt Lake uses basically the same criteria as NWS.  But because the NWS does not issue watches, advisories and warnings for Great Salt Lake specific events such as high wind ad the marina area or the impact of a Negative Storm Surge, the Harbormaster has tweeked the definitions sligthly to meet those conditions without changing the meaing.  Below are the Great Salt Lake Harbormaster definitions for watches, advisories and warnings.


Watch: A watch is used when the risk of a hazardous weather or hydrologic event has increased significalnty, but its occurrence, location or timing is still uncertain.  A watch means that hazardous weather or a negative storm surge at the Great Salt Lake Marina is possible.  People should have a plan of action in case a storm threatens and they should listen for later information and possible warnings.


 Advisory:  An advisory is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occuring, imminent or likely.  Advisories are for less serious conditions than warnings, that cause significant inconvenience and if caution is not exercised, could lead to situations that may threaten life or property.  It is also used for advising of a significant negative storm surge at the Great Salt Lake Marina that is occuring or may occur.


WARNING: A warning is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, imminent or likely.  A warning means weather conditions pose a threat to life or property.  People in the path of the storm need to take protective action.  It is also used for warning of a very significant negative storm surge that may trap boats in or out of the Great Salt Lake Marina for a significant duration of time.


Remember:  It is up to YOU to decide whether the coditions are safe for boating on the Great Salt Lake or whether YOU are up to boating in the conditions that are occurring or are likely to occur.  YOU should access multiple sources of weather forecasting such as local news networks, NWS forecasts, NOAA Weather Radio or other sources.  The Great Salt Lake Harbormaster may not be able to predict all threats nor be able to anticipate YOUR skill level.

A good mariner will consult with multiple weather sources before venturing on Great Salt Lake.