The Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology

Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)


Following the Titanic disaster in 1912, the maritime nations gathered together in 1914 to develop the first international shipping safety convention. The focus was to prevent shipping accidents and improve the chances of survival at sea following an accident. The resulting system today is called the Global Maritime Distress and Safety system (GMDSS).

The basic concept of the GMDSS is that search and rescue authorities ashore, as well as shipping in the immediate vicinity of the ship in distress, will be rapidly alerted to a distress incident so they can assist in a co·ordinated search and rescue operation with the minimum of delay. The system also provides for urgency and safety communications and the dissemination of maritime safety information, including navigational and meteorological warnings. This means that every ship will be able, irrespective of the area in which it operates, to perform those communication functions considered essential for the safety of the ship itself and of other ships operating in the same area.

JCOMM has an official operational web site·(also see below) that provides marine weather information broadcast via Inmarsat-C SafetyNET by all National Meteorological Services (NMS) appointed as Issuing Services within the framework of the WMO Marine Broadcast System for the GMDSS.

Reference Documents


The most current list of METAREA coordinators is always available here on the WMO website through the Operational Information Service.  Any discrepancies or errors in the list below should be reported to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Marine Weather Information by METAREA (


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