If you're choosing weather
and not sailing nights or long passages, you might need it less.
Besides the obvious fog
and night uses, though, radar
has a lot more uses --
* A powerful aid to watchkeeping offshore
-- radar guard zones. Extremely valuable even in daylight and good viz.
* Determining range to something, useful for navigation
and pilotage, even if the object is visible. Almost crucially important navigation
avoidance -- not everything out there broadcasts AIS
* Tracking squalls
Radars have improved enormously in the last 10 - 15 years. In my experience, MARPA still doesn't work very well, but guard zones are now really useful, because false alarms are almost completely eliminated by DSP.
A couple more random points:
* Radar and AIS
are not substitutes for each other.
* To learn to use radar well, you need to do more than just "play with it". It actually takes a fair amount of skill and knowledge to use radar to its full effect.
* Lodesman is an old professional mariner. If your purpose in starting this thread was to increase your knowledge, rather than just kill time at work (and I'm pretty sure I remember that you've quit already, so can't be that), this is someone worth listening to with particular care and attention.