There are some big problems with using gribs. Probably biggest is that they don't show fro ts and systems.
Sorry... error due to typing on the phone. That should have been "don't show fronts and systems."
the weather fax maps are free also, and if you already have a laptop on board (perhaps a big if), the hardware to receive them totals less than $100 US. A small ssb receiver and a cable is all that's needed; the software to decode the signals is free.
These are ocean scale high seas reports and 24 hour and 48 hour forecasts.
I don't think the limitations of the gribs put them anywhere near in the same category as the synoptic charts....the gribs are MISSING data that at least I would find useful offshore.
The other big thing (and related to the above problem) about gribs is that they are JUST computer output numbers. They lack the 'experienced eye' of the forecaster looking at the data and saying, "okay, with this front coming in right here, the computer model is underpredicting the flow in this region" and that sort of thing.
It's JUST digital output.
It's cool to stick with gribs if you know the limitations and have the forecasting prowess to fill in the gaps of what they do not provide. For my part, over time I've just found myself looking at them less and less since I end up looking for the fronts and such on other products anyway.
As always, YMMV.