COMPUTERS & TECHNOLOGY: WEATHER…OR NOT – 19th century-style Harbormaster Building boasts 21st century forecasting technology

BAY HARBOR – For years folks relied on the Old Farmer’s Almanac for their weather prognostication. Many probably still do. But with technology and the computer age, a process much more sophisticated than the habits of the woolly caterpillar is what we have come to rely on. Weather information is available to us 24-7 via cable television.

And now we have another resource, right in our own back yard.

The Harbormaster Building, under construction at the eastern end of Bay Harbor Lake, will become home to a computerized weather station, with e-mail services for docking reservations and communication.

“Weather is provided by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration via the Internet,” said Bob Fell, marketing director at Bay Harbor. “We use several weather service providers, all of which are accessed via the Internet.”

This complex system is being installed by Bay Harbor Information Services staff and will be operated by Harbormaster John Russell and his staff.

Comparable to local TV weather stations/services, the weather service is accessible to the public in two ways, according to Fell.

“Russell and his staff can bring up various weather reports on the PC in the Harbormaster Building for viewing or printing out for anyone who comes in–mostly transient or seasonal boaters visiting Bay Harbor Lake Marina.”

Secondly, “Anyone in the world with a computer and access to the Internet can visit the Bay Harbor web site at,” Fell said.

After logging onto the site, click on Lifestyle, then Bay Harbor Lake Marina. Select from the menu containing Location, General Information, Nautical Information, Docking Reservations, Weather.

Intended for nautical reference, the weather site is extremely detailed and informative. Even as a novice I quickly realized that it can be useful and applicable to anyone.

The page begins with the frame of reference including site and barometer elevations, air temperature and anemometer heights, sea temperature and water depths, and watch circle radius. Current conditions are listed, followed by “detailed wave summary” and “detailed wind summary.”

Docking reservations can be made following the same menu instructions above and clicking on “Docking Reservations.” A clear and concise “Lake Marina Dockage Registration” form comes up for on-line completion by the boater. Be prepared with required boat information, i.e. boat length and power requirements. Arrival and departure dates are also requested on the form. A second option for docking reservations is to e-mail your request directly to

The facility is located in Bay Harbor Marina District, an area of Bay Harbor designed to replicate a 19th century Michigan waterfront village. The main level of the Harbormaster Building will feature a boater’s lounge, restaurant and shower and laundry facilities. The second level will be home to a ship’s store, Harbormaster office and two private condos.

Completion of the entire building is scheduled for this spring.

Bay Harbor Lake Marina offers 120 public seasonal and transient docks accommodating craft up to 150 feet, with power, cable TV, and pump-out at each slip. BIZNEWS