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Old 13-11-2015, 23:33   #46
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

This is a great thread. Thanks for asking the question. I can't think of a time we've "needed" our radar but it comes in handy a whole lot. And it's on virtually always while underway for this simple reason. Radar takes a good amount of practice to get used to and understand. There will come a time when we need it to be safe, and we'll be ready.
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Old 14-11-2015, 04:57   #47
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

I have been in sutiations (fog) where I "needed" RADAR and didn't have it. Like maneuvering around a ship once in heavy fog. He had me on his RADAR and we were in VHF comm. I learned that good old sound signals work surprisingly well. I could locate his approximate position quite well from his sound signals. Also learned that manually (breath powered air horn) making sound signals over an extended period of time gets rather tedious.

RADAR definately adds a significant saftey margin to low vis and night time operation.

Another thing I use mine for often is verifying charted land masses in unfamaliar locations. My chartplotter supports RADAR overlay so its easy to compare to charted locations.

I also use MARPA (RADAR target tracking) when in high traffic area and for tracking movement of squalls.
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Old 14-11-2015, 05:14   #48
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

I've sailed with and without Radar and find it VERY useful. Like a good pair of binoculars, it increases your ability to see. At night, in the fog, trying to pick up landfalls, I find the ability to 'see' what is out there wonderful. In squally areas you can sail around the cells, even at night. Can you live without radar, yes. But if you can fit one I would (and always have)
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Old 14-11-2015, 10:02   #49
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Do I need or can i justify Radar

I have both radar and AIS. I use them both and wouldn't be without radar. I travel at night and in the fog and the radar lets you see what is around you. Mi don't know about fog in the Atlantic ICW, but I used mine at night in the GICW. I've sailed to Key West and Dry Tortugas several times with and without radar. Down there not as necessary, but cruising from Clearwater to Pensacola used extensively with AIS. Also river cruising in the Tennessee and Tenn-Click image for larger version

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ID:	112995Tom waterway it has been very useful at night and in the fog. Get the Marpha function so you can track targets.


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Old 14-11-2015, 11:58   #50
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

Anyone that says you don't need radar on a cruising vessel or you only use radar at night... Doesn't understand or know how to properly operate a radar system.


I would suggest you take a class on radar and then decide if you need it.
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Old 14-11-2015, 12:07   #51
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Radar. Great to have if you NEED it.

I sail in "foggy" San Francisco, but the reality is the fog is almost always 1,500 feet up. I've sailed here for 35 years and never felt the NEED for it.

We must have sailed on different parts of San Francisco Bay.....
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Old 14-11-2015, 18:24   #52
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

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Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
Anyone that says you don't need radar on a cruising vessel or you only use radar at night... Doesn't understand or know how to properly operate a radar system.
.
Very wrong... Need is a strong word. You do NOT need radar. It's nice have at times. It means you can take more risks with a higher margin of safety. Ie entering dangerous harbours at night or sailing in heavy fog. If you have it you NEED to know how to use it properly, and still apply sensible seamanship.

I have used, and been trained to use radar professionally for many years. But I enjoy the simple challenge of cruising with minimal electronics, and distractions.

So I am not about to fit radar to my 23 foot trailer sailer to go cruising, and fitting the set I have to my 40 footer is a very very low priority.

If you want radar, can afford it and are prepared to learn to use it, great, get it , it can be handy, but to suggest it is absolutely "needed" to go cruising is simply wrong and misleading.



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Old 14-11-2015, 18:46   #53
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

Snowpetrel I agree with you about the need-vs-want distinction on radar and that one doesn't NEED radar. I also think that sailors don't NEED to enter unfamiliar or tricky to enter harbors in the dark. There's a safe alternative -- continue sailing to your next anchorage or heave to (far enough offshore and out of the way of shipping traffic to be safe) and wait for daylight. Same goes for fog--what recreational sailor NEEDS to sail in the fog?

We all want to do what we want to do and when we want to do it. That means we put radar, gps, AIS and other tools on the boat to make it easier to sail in conditions like fog and to enter harbors and anchorages in the night when it would be better if we didn't do so. That's all the things we *want* to do, but don't, as recreational boaters *need* to do.

Last year when we finally put radar on the boat it was because we wanted to travel over a lot of miles in known foggy conditions in BC and AK. We didn't want to be socked in and we wanted to be comfortable that we were seeing objects in the water if we chose to sail in the dark. Those activities were all *wants* but in order to more safely achieve what we wanted to achieve, we *needed* radar to help us.

The bottom line, for me, remains that I believe radar isn't needed on a recreational sail boat or cruising boat but it sure is a nice toy to have.
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Old 14-11-2015, 19:11   #54
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

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Snowpetrel I agree with you about the need-vs-want distinction on radar and that one doesn't NEED radar. I also think that sailors don't NEED to enter unfamiliar or tricky to enter harbors in the dark. There's a safe alternative -- continue sailing to your next anchorage or heave to (far enough offshore and out of the way of shipping traffic to be safe) and wait for daylight. Same goes for fog--what recreational sailor NEEDS to sail in the fog?

We all want to do what we want to do and when we want to do it. That means we put radar, gps, AIS and other tools on the boat to make it easier to sail in conditions like fog and to enter harbors and anchorages in the night when it would be better if we didn't do so. That's all the things we *want* to do, but don't, as recreational boaters *need* to do.

Last year when we finally put radar on the boat it was because we wanted to travel over a lot of miles in known foggy conditions in BC and AK. We didn't want to be socked in and we wanted to be comfortable that we were seeing objects in the water if we chose to sail in the dark. Those activities were all *wants* but in order to more safely achieve what we wanted to achieve, we *needed* radar to help us.

The bottom line, for me, remains that I believe radar isn't needed on a recreational sail boat or cruising boat but it sure is a nice toy to have.
I think that's a very reasonable stance, and in truth propably echoes my, own thoughts closely. I think it's great to get comfortable with out a radar before you fit one. If it fails offshore you are in a bad place if you are of the opinion that you need it. It's like engines, GPS , autopilot, fridge, watermaker, hot showers and so on. It good to be reasonably comfortable without them if it all goes pear shaped.

I think a lot of big problems start when small things start to fail. Things people "think" they "need". Pycologically it becomes a big blow to your self confidence when you loose the *wants* that you've gotten used to.

This loss of confidence then leads to poor decisions that come back to bite you.

Back in the day we got by with no GPS, no satnav. Just a compass and a log. I'd not want to leave without a GPS these days, but if it failed I'd adapt quick enough, and hopefully I'd think back to he bad old days and treat it like a challenge not a worry.
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Old 14-11-2015, 23:54   #55
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

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Back in the day we got by with no GPS, no satnav. Just a compass and a log. I'd not want to leave without a GPS these days, but if it failed I'd adapt quick enough, and hopefully I'd think back to he bad old days and treat it like a challenge not a worry.
we did have Decca/Loran, Radio Beacons and lockers full of books with astronomic tables though
i think the difference is between people who learned navigation with a pencil, dividers and rulers vs those who were "born" with a chartplotter.
(we) the first ones tell (them) the second ones to verify their tools and learn their limits and when they say "ok i need radar to verify that image on the chartplotter".
when we than tell them "no you don't NEED radar" is where the confusion starts
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Old 15-11-2015, 00:42   #56
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

Ha, wish we had had loran down here... No decca either. It was nice when we hit the European decca chains, and the old steam powered sat nav could be relegated to the back seat.

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Old 15-11-2015, 00:55   #57
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

I also think there is a world of difference between a pleasure cruise and a commercial vessel, or navy vessel with time pressures and commercial realities to face. For these vessels, and many cruisers a radar is a no brainer, that repays it's initial cost in short order, and enhances safety if used properly.

But for the more relaxed cruising, especially on a smaller boat, it becomes much more of an unneeded luxury.


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Old 15-11-2015, 01:14   #58
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

If you can afford it of course you can justify it do you need it impossible to answer.Do you need AIS ,EPirb,2 spare anchor ,Spinnaker, Code 0,coffee maker,life raft,auxilary engine,outboard for dinghy or in fact dinghy,generator,solar panels ,40 ft yacht,etc etc the list is endless and only you can answer them.
Is it useful well yes very.We just had 6 months away on the boat mainly coastal cruising and used the radar often.We only did four sessions of travelling at night ,not overnighters,and it saved our bacon twice when we were on probable collision course in the dark on two seperate occasions when two boats approaching were unlit.It also picked up a floating and flagged but unlit beacon of some sort not on any of our three charts.On one passage of about 100 NM the wind died out and we had a mechanical problem that I could not repair at the time and our speed dropped to about 4 knts and as a result we found ourselves entering a new anchorage among reefs and islands at night the radar overlayed on the chart plotter was very comforting in providing a second system in establishing our actual position.
Also made it very easy to negotiate some of the more tricky areas at night in the rain by showing exactly where channel markers are as opposed to visually trying to establish the correct marker in areas that have multiple markers at varying distances .
Need it can't say but love using it and it makes me and my wife comfortable having it.
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Old 15-11-2015, 02:17   #59
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

snip: you don't need it until you need it.

Of course the flaw with that logic is it applies to just about every device for a boat that could remotely be considered a safety device. Eventually, you run out of money or space on the boat to mount stuff.

Example: People often say they love the idea of a second engine for backup. Of course a third engine would be even better in case 2 engines pack it in. A fourth engine would really provide backup...but at some point it just gets silly.

Reality: Look at where you plan to be, how you plan to operate and how preveleant fog is.

Example: If you plan to cruise maine and are unwilling to wait for the fog to clear, radar is a must have. If you are coastal cruising in the carolinas and mostly do day hops not starting until noon and will happily wait for any fog to burn off, you probably don't need it.
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Old 15-11-2015, 06:39   #60
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Do I need or can i justify Radar

If it's cheaper then your insurance deductible, then it's worth it. Just preventing one crash in the dark or in fog it would pay for itself. It does nothing to prevent an idiot power boater going 25 knots in the fog or dark from running into you.


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