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Aucassin 11-16-2002 03:37 AM

Is Radar an absolute necessity?
I am trying to understand the complexities of sound navigation skills with the variety of electronic "must haves."
From studying various blue water circumnavigators, I cannot see the significance of having such a reliance on radar as to preclude them from not venturing forth without it. Radar does have it share of glory in the battle with fear, but caveats abound.
I am trying to justify the voltage expense with a down to earth sailboat,which tries to stay away from a total reliance on electronic nav gear. After review, I would rather keep my head out of the boat than tied to a screen somewhere in the boat.
One example which I find encouraging is the Pardeys. Their experience is well documented and applauded and yet have a boat with almost no "demanding" electronic habits to help them. Can one safely, with a little experience and common sense, do away with our increasingly heavy reliance on radar?
Am I being prudent here or just stubborn. You decide.

windship2 11-16-2002 04:03 AM

Is Radar an absolute necessity?
No, having radar isn''t an absolute must.You could always install one ond only use it when only absolutly nessary.
To me it is a must for coastal,off shore,if you sail in fog or at night.
With radar, depth and GPS your chances of having to use your radio are almost nill.


Jeff_H 11-16-2002 05:24 AM

Is Radar an absolute necessity?
Like any other tool, radar is a very useful tool but certainly not a necessity in most sailing venues. Radar is helpful in finding markers, avoiding collisions, and tracking small squall cells. In areas where fog is rare, radar is nicety and not a necessity. Offshore, it is helpful to a small crew trying to keep a watch for shipping and other small craft but in clear weather it is a nicety and not a necessity.

On the other hand, If I cruised somewhere like Maine, where there are major hazzards to navigation, strong currents and a grounding can do a lot of damage, I would consider Radar to be a very cheap insurance policy.


RichH 11-16-2002 06:55 AM

Is Radar an absolute necessity?
In the "regs,": If you have it, you MUST use it.

Jeff_H 11-16-2002 08:16 AM

Is Radar an absolute necessity?
Actually, Rich, with all due respect, what COLREGS says that "Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight as well as by hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision."

This is often misconstrued to mean that if you have radar it must be on. It really means that Radad only must be employed when the conditions are such that failure to so creates a hazzard.


RichH 11-16-2002 12:51 PM

Is Radar an absolute necessity?
Actuallly Jeff, this is covered in Rule 6, not Rule 5 of ColRegs. Ive had this defined several times by admiralty attorneys: "If you have it you must use it". If my memory serves, its also included as a question for 100T ticket.

Jeff_H 11-16-2002 04:02 PM

Is Radar an absolute necessity?
Hi Rich,

I am just not seeing how rule 6 (below) requires the use of Radar if you have it. Rule 6 seems to require use of radar in such conditions where speed would be otherwise be limited without its use.


Rule 6 Safe Speed

Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be
stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions.

In determining a safe speed the following factors shall be among those taken into account:

(a)By all vessels:

(i)The state of visibility;

(ii) The traffic density including concentrations of fishing vessels or any other vessels;

(iii) The manageability of the vessel with special reference to stopping distance and turning ability in the prevailing conditions;

(iv) At night the presence of background light such as from shore lights or from back scatter from her own lights;

(v) The state of wind, sea and current, and the proximity of navigational hazards;

(vi) The draft in relation to the available depth of water.

(b) Additionally, by vessels with operational radar:
(i) The characteristics, efficiency and limitations of the radar equipment;

(ii) Any constrains imposed by the radar range scale in use;

(iii) The effect on radar detection of the sea state, weather and other sources of interference;

(iv) The possibility that small vessels, ice and other floating objects may not be detected by radar at an adequate

(v) The number location and movement of vessels detected by radar;

(vi) The more exact assessment of the visibility that may be possible when radar is used to determine the range of vessels or other objects in the vicinity.

paulk 11-16-2002 04:23 PM

Is Radar an absolute necessity?
Have to concur with JeffH about radar. Have spoken with various ships at different times which, when asked if we (a 38'' sloop with reflector hoisted) appeared on their screens, replied that they did not have their radars working for reasons such as "It''s a clear day."

pirateofcapeann 11-16-2002 07:04 PM

Is Radar an absolute necessity?
Okay, I guess Iíll ring in on this one too. I would assess your boating style. If youíre spending a lot of time off shore and away from the common shipping lanes, the extra drain on your batteries would be a great consideration. If you spend most of youíre time along shore, coastal cruising and in poor visibility, radar is a great asset. In neither case is radar a critical piece of navigation equipment, sailors had been getting by without it longer then they have with it. Like all electronics aboard, never trust the information unless you agree with it and always be ready to pick up plotting with DR incase the failure of some 59 cent item turns your $5000.00 worth of electronic gee-wizardry into a pile of useless ballast!

Jeff_H 11-17-2002 05:08 AM

Is Radar an absolute necessity?
Hey Pirate of Cape Ann, are you also BigRed59 going by another nom-d-net.


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