Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Wrangell Island, Alaska
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Re: Pacific Northwest sailors: How often do you use radar?
I think it depends upon how, where, and how often and when you use your boat...
If you go out for a few weekends each summer, you can probably justify not having RADAR in your area- with the caveat that you select good weather conditions and stay put if RADAR is nenecessary for safety... [e.g., limited visibility; foggy or night passage...]
We are full time liveaboard cruisers a little bit further N of you. Our boat didn't have RADAR when we bought it in 2014, and we considered that a blessing. We were able to choose the system that best suited our needs. [4G]
Our choice is to have the RADAR on any time we are transiting, and sometimes at anchor.
Even on a clear day because overlaying RADAR on the chart demonstrates chart/position accuracy. It also keeps our RADAR skills honed so we can trust it [and ourselves] when visibility is low.
Besides other vessels [large and small], our 4G also spots most ice bergs, crab and shrimp floats, most logs, exposed rocks, shorelines, float planes taking off and landing... [from about 300ft elevation...], bird flocks, storm squalls, navigation markers [buoys, daymarks] etc.
It is also great for determining CPA, etc. of other vessels in any conditions— especially for other vessels not broadcasting their position via AIS... [and unfortunately we see many vessels that are not broadcasting AIS; from small recreational boats (AIS not expected anyway...) to tugs towing barges, and commercial fishing boats to name a few...]
We also use RADAR in some circumstances [e.g., inclement Wx or the occasional high traffic area— a relative expression...] when anchored as another safeguard against a lee shore, other vessels, ice bergs, etc. The new technology uses so little power [compared to CRT/Magnetron days...] that it is a no brainer to use it in this way.
Best wishes sorting out what suits your needs. This decision is a conundrum partly because technology keeps getting better and cheaper. But what is it worth if it helps you avoid one catastrophy?
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Last edited by wrwakefield; 11-14-2018 at 02:35 PM.