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Old 11-14-2019, 10:03 PM   #1
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Radar Use

How often do you actually use your radar?

For running the AICW, Coastal Cruising, crossing the Stream?

We rarely turn it on when running the AICW, but do have it on when offshore even running just off shore inlet to inlet. And always when crossing.

I have always been aware of the fact that when you have a radar you "must use it," but never do in the close confines of the AICW. I have decided that to do so is really not appropriate.

What do you guys do?

From DHS Nav Center:

"11. Am I required to have Radar? Radar is not required on vessels under 1600 GT (33 CFR 164.35), however, Rule 7 states that proper use shall be made of radar equipment if fitted and operational. In other words, whoever has one must use it. The Navigation Rules are not meant to discourage the use of any device, rather they expect prudent mariners to avail themselves of all available means appropriate...as to make full appraisal of the situation (Rule 5), e.g. the use of radar. At issue is whether the use of radar is appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and that is a determination made by the Master; and, ultimately decided by a trier of fact.

Should you be in a collision how would a judge/jury rule on your contention that the use of radar was impracticable (due to electrical drain, crew shortages, etc.)? Also, if a collision does occur, then there was obviously a risk of collision beforehand. Could the determination of that risk have been made sooner with the use of radar? It is difficult to answer such questions because the circumstances of each case are different.

More importantly, remember that Rule 7 specifies that assumptions shall not be made on the basis of scanty information, especially scanty radar information."
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:17 PM   #2
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I have ours on anytime we under way. It helps keep me sharp on it's use, what different size vessels look like on the screen, how far away I am when passing another vessel compared to what the screen shows. Another important benefit is being able to see a vessel coming up behind me since I need to step out of the wheelhouse to see behind me. This is especially important when sharing the water with cruise ships and ferries going over 20 kts. on the Inside Passage.
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:17 PM   #3
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Here in the PNW, we turn it on as soon as we hit open water. Unless there is fog, then it is turned on as soon as we untie.

Have it on all the time and you become acclimated to it's operation and more comfortable when fog descends. During the day, radar is used for calculating crossing situations if the other boat does not transmit AIS. And to see what's behind and all around without turning my head.

But where you are, is there fog?

Must use the radar at night?
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:02 PM   #4
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Have it on all the time and you become acclimated to it's operation and more comfortable when fog descends. During the day, radar is used for calculating crossing situations if the other boat does not transmit AIS. And to see what's behind and all around without turning my head.
Ditto! And my electronics Guru says it's good for the radar,too!
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Old 11-15-2019, 01:03 AM   #5
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Yes, Radar is on all the time after I leave a marina or weigh anchor. As a good skipper told me, “Use it all the time so when you really need it, you’re very familiar with it.” And I do!
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Old 11-15-2019, 01:08 AM   #6
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My radar is always on in open water, but I usually turn it off when I'm going up the river to my berth.

But I might start to use it in the river too. About a month ago a sailboat was anchored almost in the middle of the river and did not display an anchor light and was not easily visible until very close. A pretty stupid place to anchor, and he got a visit next day from MSQ after I lodged a complaint. Radar would likely have been good then, so I should try practicing using it for short range situations.
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Old 11-15-2019, 01:47 AM   #7
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Ours is on anytime we are underway. Good practice for me and it confirms that the radar is still working, besides you are supposed to have it on.
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Old 11-15-2019, 02:07 AM   #8
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Hi,

Always on when I move.

Every now and then I use radar in navigation by measuring the target angleį and distance of the radar targets and putting them on a paper map, this is because one day the chart plotter will not work, so I know I have no problem navigating where I want.

Secondly, it should be routine to use radar when fog or darkness arrives.

I also use the radar for anchoring, measuring distances to other boats and the island etc., the radar is more accurate than my own estimate.

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Old 11-15-2019, 02:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Clifton View Post
I have ours on anytime we under way. It helps keep me sharp on it's use, what different size vessels look like on the screen, how far away I am when passing another vessel compared to what the screen shows. Another important benefit is being able to see a vessel coming up behind me since I need to step out of the wheelhouse to see behind me. This is especially important when sharing the water with cruise ships and ferries going over 20 kts. on the Inside Passage.
+1 Exactly for me. The only time I "turn it off" is when we are pulling up to our anchor spot and I switch our Garmin from a radar view to a split screen chart and sonar view to have a look at bottom topography/makeup for anchoring. What I'm finding is we are increasingly using our laptop as our main navigation resource, the Garmin chartplotters set as a splitscreen about 2 nm chart/radar side by side to have a constant view of our local situation for nav and radar surroundings, regardless if we have the coastal explorer zoomed in close or out far for our navigation needs.

We've also used the radar overlay feature and discovered that our system was initially not properly configured to properly display targets reference reality. We've got it dialed in pretty closely now and can tell our position reference other vessels with a good degree of accuracy.

I find that many times I find my navigation beacons on radar before I can spot them with my middle aged unaided eyes in the daytime.

I have one waterway I'm on regularly that is akin to some ICW areas - that would be our Swinomish channel. Its very narrow in places as its a dredged channel. I have bounced back and forth on whether I use radar or sonar, having used both in different areas at at different states of tide. I think in poor weather I would first wait it out. If I had to move I would be comfortable doing it and use radar to watch for other vessels - I've been up and down it enough to be familiar with the shallows and have enough past tracks to refer to in my plotters and CE...
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:00 AM   #10
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Add us to the always on crowd, for all the reasons already cited. There are some parts of the ICW that are canals so narrow as to make it of minimal use on a bright clear day, other than as a very accurate rear view mirror.
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:12 AM   #11
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Mine is on only when needed or maybe a couple of times just to practice.
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:22 AM   #12
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I mostly travel in daytime, clear weather and ICW.


So I rarely have it on....usually just in low visibility.


I have used radar professionally for nearly 40 years so it's less of a issue to practice a lot....every once in awhile when I am bored I turn it on for a bit to practice. Unfortunately the best times to practice are the times you must be the most vigilant in watchstanding.


Most of the time in the ICW it would be easy to articulate that it would be more of a distraction to a singlehander and thus as likely to be an issue in a collision as to prevent one. With 2 sets of eyes as lookouts and one that is RADAR failiar...different story...
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:59 AM   #13
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We have to pass under three close-proximity bridges shortly after leaving the marina. I usually wait to turn it on until after passing the bridges and turn it off when approaching them on the way back in. Zero value through that section. Otherwise, we run it even in broad daylight with good visibility for all the same reasons stated above.
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Old 11-15-2019, 08:41 AM   #14
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Our radar is always on when in open water. Its good practice and even my wife (who operates the helm much less than I do) is learning very well how to interpret whats on the screen.


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Old 11-15-2019, 08:45 AM   #15
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Always on underway, just like my depth sounder, chart plotter, VHS, AIS, etc.

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Old 11-15-2019, 08:51 AM   #16
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Always on underway, just like my depth sounder, chart plotter, VHS, AIS, etc.

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Old 11-15-2019, 09:35 AM   #17
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Always on underway, just like my depth sounder, chart plotter, VHS, AIS, etc.

Ted
Ditto here
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:55 AM   #18
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Add us to the always on crowd, for all the reasons already cited. There are some parts of the ICW that are canals so narrow as to make it of minimal use on a bright clear day, other than as a very accurate rear view mirror.
Couldn't agree more! Also, with "trails" turned on, I not only can see what's behind me, I can also see their approaching speed.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:00 AM   #19
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In a smaller boat you may have only one display, which must be shared between radar, chart plotter, AIS display, sonar display. Yes you can split the screen or overlay, but those have drawbacks as well. I only run it in bad visibility or for some specific purpose (am I gaining or loosing on that boat for example). I'll admit some of it is habit from the sailboat where it draws too much power to be left running.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:17 AM   #20
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I've had enough magnetrons go out to persuade me not to run a radar in broad daylight when I will most likely never look at it.

I do try to remember to turn it on every time I get underway for long enough to assure its operation and maybe mess about with a seldom-used function. As a long time professional mariner, I like to challenge the system and myself at night by running at 15 MPH (about the speed I have run ships in harbor channels all over the world) into the lower portion of the channel to my bayou which is marked with two buoys and several day marks, all without any radar reflectors. The radar is set to 1/2 to 1/4 mile range with gain settings such that these really hard to detect marks show up on the radar/chart overlay as actual radar returns alongside their chart icons. AP following the route to home pier relieves lots of the helm workload while the auto-scan spotlight on the bow is used to confirm to navaids. Night birds skimming the water are frequently seen on the radar; so I don't worry about missing seeing some tiny vessel. Even inexperienced folk can work themselves up to this skill level by starting out over a series of self training cruises at bare steerage checking out how well the system works in all its various modes. If you have any doubts about night running, don't, and if you are not up to the workload at faster than idle speed, stay there.
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