These are divided into "sea areas": Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight (Heligoland until 1956), Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight, Portland, Plymouth, Biscay, FitzRoy (Finisterre until Feb 2002), Sole, Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea, Shannon, Rockall, Malin, Hebrides, Bailey, Fair Isle, Faeroes, Southeast Iceland.
Following a general synopsis, each area's forecast is read out. Several areas may be combined into a single forecast. For example:
Part of the shipping forecast's charm is that it is read at dictation speed by a Radio 4 announcer such as Charlotte Green. These ladies and gentlemen have some of the most delightful English speaking voices to be heard anywhere.
The reason for choosing BBC Radio 4 for the Shipping Forecast is not simply because it is a speech-based channel, but also because it broadcasts via longwave as well as FM, and the longwave signal can be received clearly at sea all around the British Isles.
On the Tyne, Forth and Cromarty
There's a low in the high Forties
And Saturday's locked away on the pier
Not fast enough, dear