I'm no shipping forecast expert - there's plenty out there - but it's part of the radio daily ritual, not to mention uk culture generally. I recall a radio programme about it where boats would record it to cassette, and occasionally send the radio cassette over to nearby vessels on a line so they could hear it too. Even in these hi-tech days, the fundamental robust nature of long wave AM radio is fundamental.
The radio cassette itself is a Pye (a Philips brand, by then) TR1728, from around 1985. The mains timer has been modified for DC use (easily done - I've done a couple of 12v canal boat use myself, and there's a description of a similar modification here.
A few more pictures:
The unit has attracted enough interest to be going to a museum, possibly one called 'Ships Timbers' being set up in North Wales.