I’ve completed a single-handed trans-Atlantic circuit on my yacht & would like to raise a general point about use of radar. Accepting that there are issues around single-handed and watchkeeping, I found that I could sleep for 40 mins and then pop up to check for shipping; this was OK in mid-Atlantic & obviously changed in busier waters. My back-up for this is a “Watchman” radar detector, which sounds an alarm when it detects radar. However, I came across a significant number of ships; large & small, day & night, which were not operating radar. I was told, via VHF, by one ship that I couldn’t rely on the detector as radar wasn’t always used. This seems to me a significant safety issue.
The Maritime Advisory Board repeats its emphasis on the requirements of Rule 5:
“Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.”
The answer to the reporter’s concern lies within the words “by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions”, which may, or may not, include radar. Radar and other aids may not be in use for any number of operational reasons, including, in the current security climate, avoiding detection!
A theme common to this and the previous report is that it is not safe to rely upon the operation of technology on somebody else’s boat to ensure the safety of your own.