It’s "Eight Bells" for Longtime Marine Forecaster, Educator, and VOS Supporter, Lee Chesneau

Robert Luke, Voluntary Observing Ship Operations Manager, National Data Buoy Center

July 31, 2006 was the last day of weather watching through the porthole of the Ocean Prediction Center (OPC), just outside Washington, DC, for marine forecaster Lee Chesneau. Lee retired from government service with over 24 years between the U.S. Navy and NOAA. After successful tours onboard the USS Saratoga and the USS Guam during Vietnam, Lee was stationed at the Navy Weather Centers in Rota Spain and Norfolk, Virginia. Although Lee left active duty in 1979, he remained in the Naval Reserves. Lee joined NOAA in 1979 after working briefly as a ship router for OceanRoutes, Inc. He began his NOAA career in the satellite service, where he provided guidance on developing storms over the North Pacific in areas where there were no buoys and precious few ship observations. His next assignment was with the National Weather Service as a member of the Seattle Ocean Services Unit in 1983. He then joined the Ocean Prediction Center (formerly the Marine Prediction Center) in 1989, where he remained until retirement.

During his time with the OPC, many mariners have gotten to know Lee from his marine weather training and Heavy Weather Avoidance classes, taught in conjunction with the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies, and from his well received talks at numerous boat shows. Lee is only one of a few people across the nation who has been certified as an USCG Standard Training, Certification, and Watch Standing (STCW) Instructor for basic and advanced meteorology.

The VOS program, especially the Mariners Weather Log, holds Lee in high regard. Lee has authored or co-authored numerous MWL classics, such as "Hurricane Avoidance Using the 34 Knot Wind Radius and 1-2-3 Rules (1999)" and the heralded "Mariner‘s Guide to the 500-Mb Chart (1995)."

In his retirement, Lee expects to continue serving the marine community through training and education efforts in the private sector. For more information, please visit his web site at

Carr, M., G. Burkley, and L. Chesneau, 1999: Mariners Weather Log, Aug. 1999, 4-6

Sienkiewicz, J. and Chesneau, L., 1995: Mariners Weather Log, Winter 1995.


Fair winds friend, and good luck on all your upcoming adventures over the horizon.