The Beaufort Scale
Sailing ships in a storm.
Two hundred years ago the sailing ships of the Royal Navy were very much at the mercy of the weather, especially strong winds. As a result, In 1805 Commander, later Admiral, Sir Francis Beaufort published a method of measuring the wind at sea based on what sails a frigate could safely hoist. The Beaufort Scale, as it came to be known, was adopted by the Royal Navy in 1838 when it became mandatory for all ship's log entries. However, as you can see, strong winds can still cause problems for modern day sailors.....
The scale had 13 steps; from force 0, where the wind was calm, to force 12, where the steady wind would be at least 64 knots or 75 miles per hour. With this scale also came descriptions of the state of the sea, and thus sailors were able to predict how ships would react in certain wind speeds. Later in the century the Beaufort Scale was adapted for use on the land and it is still in use today.
British Beaufort Scale
A further set of Beaufort numbers from force 13 to force 17 was added by the United States Weather Bureau in 1955 to cope with the exceptional winds that they can get during a hurricane.
The Douglas Sea Scale was created by H.P. Douglas in 1917 while he was the head of the British Meteorological Navy Service. Its purpose is to estimate the roughness of the sea for navigation.
Sea State Scale
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