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Old 25-08-2019, 02:56   #1
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Radar or no radar?

Planning to return to Quebec (from the Mediterranean). We've changed our electronics a few years ago and ditched our (obsolete) radar. Was essential gear in the St-Lawrence Gulf where fog is both frequent and thick. But now with chart plotters and AIS, not clear that sailing without a radar is unduly risky.

Upside is safer sailing. Downside is cost and mounting (mast mount interferes with climbing; on our arch would shade our solar array).

I hear the argument that not all boats are equipped with AIS transmitters, but the bigger (and more threatening) ones are.

My recollection is that when sailing the St-Lawrence, we barely used our radar anyway, and when we did it was to see how far we were from the coast, which is now done with a GPS.

Opinions?
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Old 25-08-2019, 03:11   #2
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Re: Radar or no radar?

Yes agree, use AIS for ships and chart plotter to see where land is. Land doesn’t move so the chart plotter will tell you where it is. In any case you should have a good margin of error from land. Use eyeball for any boats without AIS.
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Old 25-08-2019, 03:39   #3
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Re: Radar or no radar?

While generally, AIS is more valuable than Radar in foggy Canadian waters we relied heavily on our radar. I would not want to be on the St Lawrence, in fog, without radar
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Old 25-08-2019, 03:56   #4
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Re: Radar or no radar?

Radar. Most fishing boats under 65’ don’t have AIS. They can and do lay out over night in these stretches. As one gentleman told me “I don’t want my friends to know where I am fishing, not me Wife.”

I have recently sailed these waters, have crossed Cabot Straights a number of times. I have both AIS and radar and will replace radar if it ever goes bad.

In my mind it’s no question, keep the radar.
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Old 25-08-2019, 04:40   #5
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Re: Radar or no radar?

RADAR is IMO is another Safety-at-Sea piece of equipment..
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Old 25-08-2019, 05:03   #6
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pirate Re: Radar or no radar?

I would put it down to your personal peace of mind as to have or not.
Personally the lack of radar has never bothered me but then I started sailing across the English Channel pre AIS, GPS and without radar in all weathers including fog and still survived.. only collision was in perfect visibility on a perfect day with sun and light winds.
If your an arrogant booga like me, go without..
If not.. Buy One..
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Old 25-08-2019, 05:47   #7
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Re: Radar or no radar?

Radar shows everything, AIS only shows other boats with AIS. I’d say only about 1/3 to 1/4 of boats we encounter have AIS. Radar also shows the shore, lighthouses, bouys, etc.
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Old 25-08-2019, 07:11   #8
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Re: Radar or no radar?

AIS is in no way a replacement for RADAR. As many others have said, AIS only shows you those that want to be seen. There’s no hiding from RADAR.

I like RADAR to see objects, shore lines, and weather systems.
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Old 25-08-2019, 08:03   #9
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Re: Radar or no radar?

Guess with a minimum budget get at least an active AIS transceiver, which broadcasts your position.

If you have deeper pockets, radar is surely a very nice thing to have. It's also helpful for spotting nighttime squalls...
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Old 25-08-2019, 08:09   #10
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Re: Radar or no radar?

I wouldn't sail those latitudes without radar. Too stressful and too dangerous.
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Old 25-08-2019, 08:41   #11
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Re: Radar or no radar?

Agree that AIS is no substitute for radar. I will set up split screen on my chartplotter with gps and radar when in fog, at night and off shore to see targets that do not have AIS signals, land masses and jetties.

Suggest mounting the radar up the mast vs. on your arch or pole. That can be done without dropping the mast as was done on my Hunter 386.
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Old 25-08-2019, 08:55   #12
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Re: Radar or no radar?

Automatic Identification system. It was developed for radar identification, not as a stand alone unit. the gamble is monies and education-
If you have good visibility and hearing (no enclosure when driving) then take the chance provided the ais is transmitting. you have experience understanding that there are lots of objects in the fog that go boom.
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Old 25-08-2019, 08:57   #13
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Re: Radar or no radar?

In the Pacific NW we have similar weather. I asked the same question and the most common response was; "if I had to choose between AIS and Radar, I'd pick AIS". We did, we've survived and we're happy with that decision. Our most serious threat is tugs, towing log rafts. A quick DSC call will get you the size of the tow if you need that.
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Old 25-08-2019, 09:03   #14
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Re: Radar or no radar?

Radar. It is a good safety system which backs up the others. Fishing vessels of all sizes are out in fog. I've made many passages
safely using radar to avoid these bosts
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Old 25-08-2019, 09:11   #15
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Re: Radar or no radar?

Having single-handed most of the way from Panama to NZ it was piece of mind when I would get some sleep. The cost for that made it a necessary piece of equipment. I set it for 25 NM to give me time to get orientated to the surroundings if the Watchman alarm went off.
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