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Author Topic:   Radar on small craft
TunnelRat posted 05-15-2006 01:14 PM ET (US)   Profile for TunnelRat   Send Email to TunnelRat  
There's an interesting discussion going on in the General Area about running at night ("Homicide by watercraft"). It reminded me of a question I have: Is it possible to mount a radar system on a small center console boat that lacks a T-top? I am planning to buy either the Outrage 190 or the Dauntless 18 this winter (probably the Outrage 190), and would like to use the boat at night once I gain some sustantial experience (I currently have no experience whatsoever). I was wondering whether it would be possible or sensible to mount a system on such a small boat, and if so, where? Would appreciate any opinions or experience with this, particularly with the Outrage 190.
rocket posted 05-15-2006 05:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for rocket  Send Email to rocket     
I have a Sitek Genesis unit with a small enclosed radar dome on my COnquest 260 hard top. The thing weighs about 10 pounds and measures about 16" dia. The instructions say to mount the radar above people. You do not want the thing throwing its beam directly in your face at close proximity. Also, the higher over the water the better for range. You have to get it up and out of your way. The bad part about that is the higher you mount it the more of a moment arm there will be on it when you pound a few waves. I have seen several types of pole mounts in the various catalogs, like BoatUS/West Marine. Whatever you end up with, dont underestimate the dynamics of those wave impacts on the structure you use to hold the unit. Maybe clamp in a similarly weighted junk object and go crashing around before you chuck up the real ($$$$) deal.
Buckda posted 05-15-2006 05:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Radar is not necessary for nighttime running...and for a novice boater, it is better to "learn the basics" than to jump in with too much sophisticated navigation equipment...on several levels.

Nighttime boating is one of the relatively undiscovered joys of pleasure boating, however depending on where you live and go boating, it can also be dangerous to different degrees.

My recommendation is to slowly step into nighttime boating - especially as a novice boater - as you become comfortable and familiar with your local waters.

The rule, almost always, is to operate below planing speed at night in areas where other boats may be present, near docks or other residential or commercial properties, and within about 200 yards from shore. (If your local waters are often clogged with flotsam or other debris that would represent a striking risk at night, you should operate slowly at night when your vision is decreased.)

Also - I stay slow in any channel marked by navigational aids - no wake zone or not.

Nighttime boating is not so serious that you need silence aboard (though as a novice or at the beginning of your nighttime operation experience, you may wish to make this a rule until you are very comfortable), but neither is it a time for your crew to be noisy or boisterous to the point that it distracts you (who are responsible for their safety) or detracts from you listening for traffic, to the radio, etc in the course of your navigational duties.

I've dropped a crew member (and a buddy to "babysit") at the pier entering the channel from the lake before because he would not quiet down (overindulgence)....I drove the truck back and picked them up at the park when the rig was safely on the trailer.

All that of course is for an entirely different thread.

They make RADAR masts that could be affixed to your boat that would keep the radar off the deck high enough to be effective...this is a major installation on your boat.

Unless you live/boat near a shipping channel or where there is a lot of commercial traffic, do more than 50% of your boating at night, or in an area where fog is a frequent occurrence (San Francisco, Lake Superior, etc), then I believe RADAR is really much more optional on your boat.

All that said, I want to put a small unit on my 18' Outrage eventually... :) Just because it's optional doesn't take away my "want" for a new toy!

Dave

20dauntless posted 05-16-2006 01:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for 20dauntless  Send Email to 20dauntless     
I boat quite a bit in the San Juans at night, and I don't have radar. There have been a few times when it would be helpful, but the combination of GPS and spotlight work well enough. It also helps that there isn;t a lot of light from the shore to confuse things. My biggest concern is hitting logs in the water since there aren't a lot of other boaters out at night. Like others have said radar would be very helpful on a busy stretch of water or when there is a lot of confusing light on shore to compete with a boats navigation lights.

Sam

cdnwhaler posted 05-16-2006 10:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for cdnwhaler  Send Email to cdnwhaler     
I'm surprised Buckda didn't mention his wonderful Outrage, Gambler, and post a URI to a picture of it and it's radar arch. The 2nd link is to an Outrage 22, Outre, with a similiar radar arch that I believe now has radar installed.

I think the arch is the way to go but it's also an expensive way to go on a smaller craft. Especially if it's only for night time boating periodically.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v219/Buckda/Memorial%20Day%202005/ DSCF0059.jpg
http://www.geocities.com/j_flook

The needs for night time boating vary I think according to where you're boating and your personal experience level. Between this thread, the Homicide thread, and uhu's awful experience there is some great reading to learn from here. And I know if you search this site there are a number of other threads with good information and probably more horror stories about how not to.

Searching nighttime brought up these 33 threads.
http://continuouswave.com/cgi-bin/sw.pl?Search=nighttime

Searching radar gives 692 threads.
http://continuouswave.com/cgi-bin/sw.pl?Search=radar

Searching night time brought up 2,751 threads so you may want to play with your search parameters.
http://continuouswave.com/cgi-bin/sw.pl?Search=night+time

Peter

TunnelRat posted 05-16-2006 02:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for TunnelRat  Send Email to TunnelRat     
Thanks very much for the really helpful comments. I don't plan to try any night boating until I get some experience, but down the road I would really like to fish at night. I hate the sun (I burn easily) and I love Stripers. I plan to fish mostly off Hyannis (Cape Cod) in Nantucket Sound. Sounds like I can do it without the radar if I go slow and am careful, so maybe the radar would be unnecessary. But I am glad to know there are some installation options if I go with the Outrage 190, which won't have a T-top. I might jjst go ahead and invest in the radar system, even if it is a bit unnecessary, because it would give me some peace of mind and I am also hoping it will help me spot flocks of birds...
swist posted 05-19-2006 08:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
I've installed radar on small boats - as the boat becomes smaller, the installtion becomes more problematic. A radar requires a radome mounted "up high somewhere" and the display unit is a lot bigger than the small GPS units - otherwise you won't see much. Despite the drop in electronic prices, the space to mount these two things becomes the limiting factor as the boat size gets smaller. IMHO the low 20's is about the limit, but obviously it depends on the configuration of the console and other things.

Another less tangible factor is the issue of making a small, simple boat complicated, thus defeating one of the purposes of having a small simple boat, but clearly this is a subjective decision.

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