Originally Posted by FritzN
Anyone who's ever been on watch offshore knows that no human can see what a radar does. Most radars have alarms, so you know when something threatening is near. On watch you spend most of your time checking the radar and tweaking the sales.
By the way, on the Pacific Mexican coast, if you're over 100 miles offshore, there isn't likely to be anything out there. I just returned from Sicorro Island -- an active volcano that's 330 nautical miles off the Mexican Pacific mainland -- and never saw (visually or on the radar) another vessel for the first 2.5 days.
As old Capt. Irving often said "Every skipper has his own compass" so who am I to say what is best for you and your boat? Then again I have been on watch offshore for a few miles and have used radar a fair bit. With my own eyes I have watched wooden and plastic boats - oh and a mostly submerged container once - go bye that the radar either never saw or didn't see till the very last moment. Nothing wrong with radar as a back up, but it will not and cannot replace the old Mark-1 eyeball. All these electronic tools are great assistants, but they should never be used to replace good seamanship. Always assume they are going to crash in the next few hours - or minutes if close to the coast in a tricky place. Maybe we should start a thread about near misses and other cute stories that happened to people with only the radar on watch or that were using the "every now and then" watch system. I know I could add a few goodies to it. Did I mention the entire grass roof to a house that went bye once complete with chickens?