Originally Posted by panthablue
Once again, excellently described Paul.
It seems to me that there is no real solution to this problem, the precision required for a reflection is so fine that in the randomness of the ocean there can never be any guarantee of a small boat being seen by a ships radar
, and even if you are seen by the radar
, there is no guarantee that the watchkeeper will see your blip on the screen
Maybe we should look at the alternatives more closely, AIS
In the meantime, my suggesttion would be to make better use of VHF
. I can see no reason why a small boat shouldn't broadcast its position, direction and speed over a limited range, particularly in fog
, at night, and when crossing shipping
lanes. At least you can feel you have done something posative instead of just hoping that there isn't a supertanker heading straight for you.
And I'll keep my trihedral hanging up the backstay just in case it will do some good.
I am in general agreement with you on this. As for broadcasting your position on VHF
, when I've hailed a ship at sea I've often had to make several calls and wait many minutes before I got a response. I'm not sure how well they are monitoring when they are far from the coast.
I'm going to keep my octahedral reflector hanging from the first spreader, or possibly get a TriLens. This is hardly guaranteed to protect me, but I figure it's like my nav-lights: I'm going to rely on my lookout, but the other guy had better have their lights on. If the other guy is actually standing watch, I should show him the courtesy of running my lights as well.
If we all had reflectors, but nobody ran their radar, then the reflectors would be useless. By this logic, I should run my radar 24/7, but as a balance between power and safety
, I tend to run it only when visibility is poor. This is all about choosing an optimum compromise.
I strongly believe that AIS
is perhaps the best safety
tool out there now to help you avoid being run down by a ship (standard disclaimer about using your eyes, radar, etc). Using my reciprocity argument, I should have an AIS transponder, not just a receiver, and eventually I probably will. But, the big ships are required to have AIS, so the argument really only makes sense once smaller boats start installing transponders.