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Do You Need a Radar for Your Boat?

Radar is your vision when fog, rain or darkness mean your own eyes can no longer see everything you need to keep you on track and safe. With radar, you can travel confidently to your destination just as efficiently as on a bright sunny day.

Specialized marine electronics suppliers offer a range of radar systems and can provide advice on the best solution for your situation.

Radar is not just the domain of professional boaters anymore. There are now systems available to suit all vessel sizes and budgets. Newer solid state radar systems also use significantly less power than older systems and making them more attractive for smaller boats.

When should I invest in Radar?

The answer to this depends on the kind of boating you do. There are always advantages to having radar, but the cost benefits can vary for different people.

If you are often on the water in foggy or inclement weather, at night, or you are a fisherman who wants to locate seabirds, then radar is most definitely worth it.

How Does Radar Work?

A radar system is comprised of two separate components – the radar (electronics and display) and an antenna (often called a radar array or radome). The radar array rotates 360º, sending out a signal in the form of short pulses of radio waves as it does so. When the radio waves hit an object – another boat, the coastline, or a navigation aid – they are scattered. The scattered radio waves reflected back to the vessel are then interpreted by the antenna.

The results are displayed on the monitor, continually updated with every new sweep the array makes. What is displayed is a visualization of each object’s distance from your vessel, calculated based on the time for a signal to return. You can make adjustments of the scale you see on your monitor.

Do I need Radar when I have AIS?

AIS is without a doubt one of the best recent technologies which have made boating life less stressful and safer. So now there is the question of whether radar is still needed. There is clearly an overlap between the two technologies.

AIS has the advantage of being very user-friendly, but it won’t pick up everything, which is one of its limitations compared to radar. You can overlay both systems, however, and enjoy the benefits of both.

Radar systems can be found at your local Marine Electronics Suppliers in Michigan.