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Should I get a Radar for my Boat?

Should I get a Radar for my Boat?

Marine radars are used to identify objects in the water and their position in relation to your location. They work similarly to fish finders, but instead of sending a sound, they send a radio signal which is reflected from the objects and returns to the radar. Based on the time, speed, and strength of the signal, the radar calculates a rough estimation of the object’s location.

But why use radar for your new boat?

Because it helps you navigate your boat. It’s especially useful for new boaters since it helps them understand their location and in relation to other objects in the water. By using a radar, you will be able to detect objects even when the visibility is lower than usual.

Of course, there are many other reasons why you should use radar for your new boat. Let’s check them out!

Know Your Location and Plan Your Navigation

One of the main aims of radars is to help you understand your exact location and navigate your boat. Radars use GPS to detect and track your location. By using radar on your boat, you will always know your position and its relation to other objects on the chart. Also, you will know your speed and heading overground and will be able to mark waypoints you will navigate to.

For even more accurate location, radars use chart plotters. They show you coordination on the chart and allow you to plan your waypoints, create a route, and check the coordinates of other relevant objects, such as land or buoys. Depending on the system, you may also be able to access information on tides and other intel data.

Keep in mind that GPS and chart plotters aren’t always accurate. Sometimes they can show things that aren’t what they are presented to be.

See Further Than Your Eyes Can See

The radar allows you to see miles away, which is not possible when relying on your eyes or binoculars. You can see up to the horizon, whereas the radar sees around 15% over the horizon. It actually goes above that value because it’s mounted higher on the boat compared to the height of the human’s eyes.

What’s more important than the visibility range, and one of the top benefits of using radar is that radars can prevent collision between boats or boats and other objects in the water.

See Better Than Your Eyes Can See

Apart from seeing further, radars also see better than your eyes can. This refers to situations when the weather is bad, there's fog, or it’s dark. In such events, GPS can’t really help because it doesn’t show debris floating in the water or other boats suddenly appearing nearby.

Fortunately, radars can see well even when the visibility is low. In that way, they ensure you don’t collide with other boats, ships, or any other object in the water.

Find Fishing Spots

As an angler, your main aim is to find the best fishing spot(s). That’s why many anglers use fish finders, which are impressive marine tools. However, they don’t detect and track your position and the position of other objects and lack most of the other features radars have. This gives an advantage to radars.

While radars don’t detect fish as fish finders do, they can help you find a fish spot by detecting fishing vessels in the water. Where there is a fishing vessel, there is fish. How does this help you find fishing spots?

You can use the radar variable range marker (VRM) and electric bearing line (EBL) to identify the exact distance and direction to the vessel. Then, you can just go there or mark the spot for another day to go fishing.

Find a Waypoint

Similar to finding fishing spots, you can use your radar to find a waypoint to any object you see on the same. For example, if you see an unknown object on the radar, you can use its functions to determine the coordinates and go see what it is. Who knows what you will find?!

Get Weather Alerts

Apart from helping you with navigation, detecting coordinates, and preventing collision, the radar can also alert you about bad weather. You can adjust its sensitivity to detect rain squalls and/or storms from afar and analyze whether it will come to your location or not. If it comes, you will have enough time to plan what’s you’ll do to protect yourself, your crew (if applicable), and your boat.

Set an Alarm for Danger

Many radars have a guard zone alarm which allows you to set a safe zone around your vessel. You can set a specific distance around your boat and turn on the alarm. In that way, the alarm will sound when your vessel detects an object within that zone.

Tracking Your Vessel and Other Vessels

One of the best features of marine radars is that they can track the movement of your vessel and other vessels. It can show you where you were 10 minutes ago compared to where you are now. Likewise, it tracks the movement of other vessels and can “predict” their position after a specific amount of time as you choose. For example, you can set the time to 20 minutes and the radar will show you where the vessel will be in 20 minutes.

Ensures Your Safety

Do you have an AIS? That’s a great tracking system that helps boats identify and report their position, speed, and course. But, not all vessels have it, which makes your AIS invaluable since it can’t identify the vessels approaching.

So, yes, you need radar even if you have an AIS. You need it because you won’t be able to see any vessel approaching if they don’t have an active AIS. And, two or more vessels coming one to another leads to a collision with unthinkable consequences.

Take a look at our complete collection of Marine Radars at: 

https://aquaboating.com/collections/radar

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