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Old 09-11-2015, 14:36   #1
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Do I need or can i justify Radar

I am toying with the idea of putting radar on my boat...now let me explain...i was wanting to go to the keys this year but due to back problems had to delay it a yr...Now if i go next year would it be worth my money to install it and could it be well used...my travel is down the ICW with maybe short trips outside but not much...the unit i am looking at is the Garmin 741sx/radar. if anyone has one of these i would like to know there thoughts and 2nd is it worth it...
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Old 09-11-2015, 14:51   #2
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

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.

I have friends who sail in other places, like Maine.

They do NEED it.

There is a vast difference between needs & wants.

Analyze your experiences based on where you sail ro where you intend to sail.

Your boat, your choice.

Good luck.
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Old 09-11-2015, 14:57   #3
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

Operating at Night Yes, Daytime only not so much. I have only used the Raymarine 18" analog units which I think work pretty well for what I need radar for (obstacles, weather).

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Old 09-11-2015, 15:01   #4
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

I have never felt the need for one down here in Tassie, even at night somehow I manage just fine. I might fit the one in my shed one day, to give me a new toy to play with.

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Old 09-11-2015, 15:23   #5
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

I sail in even foggier Maine. Before chartplotters and AIS, I used radar as a primary navigation and anti-collision tool in fog. Now, I depend much more on the chartplotter,AIS and the Mark I eyeball. Even after 40 years of practice, the radar can be as confusing as it is helpful.

The route to Key West has very little fog and a whole lot of commercial traffic. Get a $500 AIS transponder. All commercial ships use it. Not so many fishing boats do but being run down by a fishing boat isn't one of my big nightmares. My AIS is on 100% of the time. The radar, maybe 2%.
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Old 09-11-2015, 15:48   #6
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

If you have the money to burn or plan on lots of night crossings or sail in fog then yes. If none of the above, I wouldn't bother.


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Old 09-11-2015, 16:02   #7
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

Nice at night coming into a strange harbor late arrival, nice tracking thunderstorms many miles away, nice tracking waterspouts. But not that necessary really for the area you mention.
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Old 09-11-2015, 16:16   #8
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

For what sailing you are talking about I would find something better to do with my money. We have gone from Texas to the Bahamas to Maryland and back to the Bahamas and back to NC and only turned it on for tracking thunder storms. IMO it's a big power user and just needed in non fog areas.
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Old 09-11-2015, 17:23   #9
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

Do you *need* it? Not IMO, but it is a nice have, yes. We sailed from the 80's until 2014 w/o radar. Never had a good excuse to purchase radar until then. We've had AIS since 2009 on our little Standard Horizon VHF radio--love it and think we NEED the AIS. We bought a B&G broadband radar and chart plotter in Feb 2014 and then in March sailed up from San Francisco to Glacier Bay National Park in AK--we were glad to have radar that trip--from the spring gales that we could see at night lit up on the radar screen to the late summer fogs in AK and BC that were pea-soup thick, it was nice to have.

Even so--we didn't NEED it it was just nice to have. There was only once in a morning right outside Prince Rupert when the fog filled in so fast and thick that we couldn't see from one end of the boat to the other--seriously. It was one of those totally awesome technology moments. And that's a hoot from me, Ms. old-fashioned do everything the old way... but we do have the tech if we want it. My husband was on the bowsprit steering with our autopilot remote control and I back in the chart house was on a split-screen with the radar seeing floating logs (yes the B&G broadband can see birds sitting on logs...) and nearby boats. Many boats immediately dropped anchor but we were able to continue because of the AIS and the radar overlaid onto the charts--oh, yeah, if we'd had an iPad aboard, the B&G radar and chart plotter (controls and display both) would have shown on it--so my husband could have been sitting on the bow with his remote control and an iPad with full view of AIS/Radar/chart--instead I had to use the PA to tell him how far we were from different targets. It still was a very high tech moment aboard our 1931 schooner, for sure.

If you think you need it, get it. If you have money for a cool toy, go for it. If you're in a place with bad charts (like parts of AK...) the radar will show you the shoreline and that's nice.

Enjoy your travels,
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Old 09-11-2015, 17:35   #10
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

We use our radar all the time. It takes practice to become proficient at using it. If you don't practice it's worthless. If you practice it's better than AIS.
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Old 09-11-2015, 17:51   #11
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

I seldom use my radar. It's great for checking squalls but for most of my sailing I don't turn it on. It's great for fog but in sailing to the Bahamas for the past many years I've run into fog about three or four times. Only once in the Bahamas and the other times in early morning on the ICW or on the coast. It's nice to know it's there if I really need it but if cost is a consideration you can do without it.
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Old 09-11-2015, 18:05   #12
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
I seldom use my radar. It's great for checking squalls but for most of my sailing I don't turn it on. It's great for fog but in sailing to the Bahamas for the past many years I've run into fog about three or four times. Only once in the Bahamas and the other times in early morning on the ICW or on the coast. It's nice to know it's there if I really need it but if cost is a consideration you can do without it.
My limited experience agrees %100 with this.. I like using it, MARPA is cool, but it uses a ton of power. I don't think its "Required".
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Old 09-11-2015, 19:18   #13
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

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We use our radar all the time. It takes practice to become proficient at using it. If you don't practice it's worthless. If you practice it's better than AIS.
AIS and Radar are two separate tools enabling you to visualize two different kinds of things--Radar lets you see targets that have sufficient density to disturb the signal. Those targets may be heavy rain, boats, buildings, sharp outlines of the landscape or if using broadband radar they may also include close-in smaller objects like marker buoys, logs floating, small things on the water--even a person on a dock. Radar can be used independent of any need for GPS, charts, or outside data--it is an image open to your own interpretation.

AIS provides a target and distance to AIS targets. It is also a means of communicating with other vessels. From the AIS you can see on screen the target's heading, speed, size, MMSI, as well as the distance and bearing from your boat... and other info...AIS provides you with the ability to make a DSC call (bridge-to-bridge) with the AIS target to make sure they see you, too. AIS is GPS dependent but can be used (e.g. via the radios with AIS integrated) w/o a chart.

Radar and AIS are different tools and useful in some overlapping ways but not an either-or-proposition. Since AIS is dirt cheap (see the Standard Horizon radios I keep mentioning that have AIS built in ... less than $300 can get you one) whereas radar is going to be a bigger budget item.
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Old 09-11-2015, 19:25   #14
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

On our six month trip from Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef, we used radar three times for very thick fog as well as our only overnight sail. It was great for both, being able to spot small boats and professional fishers well before they were acutally visually seen. for the fog, on at least one occasion, the actual channel markers did not correspond to our chartplotter or computer charts, so it was good to have.
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Old 09-11-2015, 20:17   #15
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Re: Do I need or can i justify Radar

Do the trip without it. If you feel afterwards you need it, then go get it. If not you just saved a bunch of money
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