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Old 17-01-2018, 07:00   #1
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Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

I know modern 4G radar can easily pick up mooring buoys on a flat sea, but I'm more interested in very small fishing buoy, which are often consisting of a milk bucket, sometime with a pole and an orange flag, but oftentimes with nothing at all to signal them.

Some areas, eg the Portuguese coast, are littered with those buoys that are hard to see at day, and plain impossible to spot at night. It's a huge navigation hazard, and I know of a few sailboats who have been in huge trouble after motoring into one.

Does anyone have first-hand experience of detecting those with a radar ? If so, at what distance, and in what kind of seas (ie can you still pick them up with a 2m-6ft Atlantic swell ?)

Thanks in advance !
Brann
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Old 17-01-2018, 07:10   #2
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Re: Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

I've picked up the top of 8 inch diameter pilings. Nav markers, with no signage. We used chart overlay to identify their position in water vs on the chart. Water was flat.
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Old 17-01-2018, 07:53   #3
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Re: Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

My unit is B&G 4G radar with B&G Zeus 2 plotter.
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Old 17-01-2018, 07:54   #4
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Re: Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

With the cheapest Furono purchased five years ago, (basic black and white) I pick up lobster pot buoys here in Maine. HOWEVER, I can only do that on the shortest range setting and with the gain and declutter functions tuned perfectly. I sometimes do this for fun. I see their echo trails going down the screen. I don't think I could use this to dodge them at night. For one thing, there are just too many of the things. For another, I lose them in the clutter when they get close to the boat. My radar is about ten feet up the mizzen, and the sweep doesn't hit the water until it is maybe eighty or so feet away. (haven't done the math)

I doubt that any radar can reliably differentiate such small targets in any kind of seaway, but no doubt more experienced voices will soon chime in.
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Old 17-01-2018, 08:02   #5
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Re: Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

Please let us know if you find a model that does pick up buoys in chop.
Len

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Old 17-01-2018, 08:19   #6
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Re: Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

That's really the issue. In any kind of a sea-they're gone.

I think the broadband radars are about as good as it gets for this kind of close-in work on little targets. Useless compared to a decent magnetron radar for anything at a distance, but good for close in.


For the Portuguese coast, I think that there's generally enough of a sea running that you'll have a hard time detecting the little stuff on any radar.
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Old 17-01-2018, 08:20   #7
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Re: Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

yep, that's what they look like. The trick is to have a small prop buried deep in an aperature of a long keel, with attached rudder. I don't even think about them, just motor right over 'em. I've never wrapped one yet.
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Old 17-01-2018, 08:52   #8
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Re: Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

If the buoy is vertical,you are reasonably safe.
If the buoy is laying down,pass by the butt (square) end.
Look for a small trailer buoy down tide of larger buoys & never pass between them.
Avoid using reverse.
Avoid making small circles.
A shaft rope cutter is necessary in some areas.
Saildrives are not a good idea in heavily buoyed areas (My opinion) unless they have been equipped with "shedder" or prop cage.
Streamline anything on your bottom that could catch a floating rope.
Sailing without power is reasonably safe.

Prop cage https://www.dropbox.com/s/te378tbg2h...0cage.jpg?dl=0

Rope shedder https://www.dropbox.com/s/g4zvkf5fvq...0stop.JPG?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/loszfzoswu...Chart.jpg?dl=0


Cheers/ Len
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Old 17-01-2018, 09:23   #9
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Re: Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ D View Post
That's really the issue. In any kind of a sea-they're gone.

I think the broadband radars are about as good as it gets for this kind of close-in work on little targets. Useless compared to a decent magnetron radar for anything at a distance, but good for close in.


For the Portuguese coast, I think that there's generally enough of a sea running that you'll have a hard time detecting the little stuff on any radar.
4G is good for close in, but far from useless at a distance! You do need to get good with the settings, but my 4G is good our to about 20 miles, and very good from, say, ten miles on in.

Maybe a little practical experience and practice......

Seas make anything close in difficult for any radar, however.
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Old 17-01-2018, 09:23   #10
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Re: Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

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Originally Posted by Mainebristol View Post
With the cheapest Furono purchased five years ago, (basic black and white) I pick up lobster pot buoys here in Maine. HOWEVER, I can only do that on the shortest range setting and with the gain and declutter functions tuned perfectly. I sometimes do this for fun. I see their echo trails going down the screen. I don't think I could use this to dodge them at night. For one thing, there are just too many of the things. For another, I lose them in the clutter when they get close to the boat. My radar is about ten feet up the mizzen, and the sweep doesn't hit the water until it is maybe eighty or so feet away. (haven't done the math)

I doubt that any radar can reliably differentiate such small targets in any kind of seaway, but no doubt more experienced voices will soon chime in.
This is the key statement, for any radar. If you adjust the settings, pretty much everything will show up. On my 2KW Raymarine radar, I can see fishing buoys as well as planes taking off from LAX (I can track them to 119 knots and then the MARPA circuitry cuts off). However, in both cases you need to spend a minute adjusting the settings, so it does not work for avoidance.
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Old 17-01-2018, 09:40   #11
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Re: Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

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4G is good for close in, but far from useless at a distance! You do need to get good with the settings, but my 4G is good our to about 20 miles, and very good from, say, ten miles on in.

Maybe a little practical experience and practice......

Seas make anything close in difficult for any radar, however.
Well, I'm a professional mariner, currently using 2 25kw furuno units with 8' arrays. I've spent at least 50,000 hours operating radars. I know how to tune them.

I have the 3g, and it's a piece of garbage. Maybe the 4's better. I even got a new one on warranty from B&G, assuming that nothing on the market could be that bad, but the replacement is just the same. I can be plainly looking at a mid-sized steel fishing boat at 5-6 miles, and the thing won't pick it up worth a damn. Ships are detected at maybe 8 miles.

Maybe I got 2 duds, but I'm going back to a 4kw!
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Old 17-01-2018, 11:40   #12
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Re: Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

We have a B&G 4g radar with Zeusís 2 chartplotters it will pickup a Jav ax bottle but only in flat seas with a bit of chop it picks up top of the wave so you can depend on it for small objects
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Old 17-01-2018, 11:42   #13
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Re: Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

Never had that problem we can pick up a 14 ft wood fishing boat a mile away so maybe you need to go to 4g
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Old 17-01-2018, 11:43   #14
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Re: Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ D View Post
That's really the issue. In any kind of a sea-they're gone.

I think the broadband radars are about as good as it gets for this kind of close-in work on little targets. Useless compared to a decent magnetron radar for anything at a distance, but good for close in.


For the Portuguese coast, I think that there's generally enough of a sea running that you'll have a hard time detecting the little stuff on any radar.
This.

I have about 20,000 miles of experience with 4G radar. It picks up larger commercial pot floats in calm weather, but not with a sea running. Does not pick up milk containers ever.

Long range (well, 10 - 20 miles, I don't need more) is just fine. About the same as my old large 4kw Raytheon set.

MARPA on the 4G set is utter carp - useless. My next radar will probably be Furuno.
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Old 17-01-2018, 12:38   #15
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Re: Can a modern radar pick up a fishing buoy ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ D View Post
That's really the issue. In any kind of a sea-they're gone.

I think the broadband radars are about as good as it gets for this kind of close-in work on little targets. Useless compared to a decent magnetron radar for anything at a distance, but good for close in.


For the Portuguese coast, I think that there's generally enough of a sea running that you'll have a hard time detecting the little stuff on any radar.
I've sailed the Portuguese coast at dawn and found them hard to spot even in a light chop. I would wish to be very sure using radar, and I'm not convinced plastic of that size gives a good enough return without some fine tuning. You may only get an answer such as "it depends", if your own familiarity with tweaking is required to accomplish this.
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