Letters – by Our Readers



Thanks for your very informative article on RADAR.

Your readers should also know that the Navigation rules require the “proper” use of RADAR if so equipped and operational. Proper use includes long-range scanning, as well as “RADAR plotting” or the systematic tracking of detected objects to avoid collisions. Mariners must also know how to adjust their RADARS for the prevailing conditions.

The misuse of RADAR can be a major factor in determining the fault of a collision.  

Captain Hardin

Thank you.

I’m glad that you found the article on RADAR informative. You are correct, and I should have made the point clear, that if your vessel has an operational RADAR then according to the USCG Navigation rules you must use it to avoid a collision. See Rule 7 subpart b for a clearer understanding:


Subpart I – Conduct of Vessels in any Condition of Visibility

Rule 7 Risk of Collision

(a) Every vessel shall use all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions to determine if risk of collision exists. If there is any doubt such risk shall be deemed to exist.

(b) Proper use shall be made of RADAR equipment if fitted and operational, including long-range scanning to obtain early warning of risk of collision and RADAR plotting or equivalent systematic observation of detected objects.

(c) Assumptions shall not be made on the basis of scanty information, especially scanty RADAR information.

(d) In determining if risk of collision exists the following considerations shall be among those taken into account:

(i) such risk shall be deemed to exist if the compass bearing of an approaching vessel does not appreciably change; and

(ii) such risk may sometimes exist even when an appreciable bearing change is evident, particularly when approaching a very large vessel or a tow or when approaching a vessel at close range.

The Rule makes no distinction between having an operational RADAR and knowing how to operate the RADAR. The expectation is that the vessel operator will have the necessary knowledge and skill to operate the ship’s RADAR.

Rule 6 subpart b also applies and provides more guidance on the operators’ responsibility in knowing how to operate their RADAR sets.

Rule 6 Safe Speed

Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions. In determining a safe speed, the following factors shall be among those taken into account:

(a) By all vessels:

(i) the state of visibility;

(ii) the traffic density including concentration of fishing vessels or any other vessels;

(iii) the maneuverability of the vessel with special reference to stopping distance and turning ability in the prevailing conditions;

(iv) at night, the presence of background light such as from shore lights or from back scatter of her own lights;

(v) the state of wind, sea and current and the proximity of navigational hazards;

(vi) the draft in relation to the available depth of water

(b) Additionally, by vessels with operational RADAR:

(i) the characteristics, efficiency and limitations of the RADAR equipment;

(ii) any constraints imposed by the RADAR range scale in use;

(iii) the effect on RADAR detection of the sea state, weather and other sources of interference;

(iv) the possibility that small vessels, ice and other floating objects may not be detected by RADAR at an adequate range;

(v) the number, location and movement of vessels detected by RADAR; and

(vi) the more exact assessment of the visibility that may be possible when RADAR is used to determine the range of vessels or other objects in the vicinity.

Both Rules 6 and 7 have no appreciable differences between the inland and international wording.

Thank you again for being a loyal reader of the Yachtsman Magazine.


Mr. Wells,

Thank you for the kind words and for mentioning me in this very cool magazine. What a beautiful write-up about our Sioux City history. Now I have tremendous bragging rights for being in a yachting magazine!! How cool is that? If you ever make it back this way, I’m buying you lunch. It was a pleasure meeting you. Have a great rest of your week!

P.S. someday I hope to own a yacht!!!

Kenny Strand
Logan Park Cemetery

Thank you Kenny,

I remember pulling into Logan Park and being overwhelmed seeing the seemingly endless hills covered with grave markers. I am so grateful that I met you and you helped me find my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ graves. Well, we found my grandparent’s grave and you were able to track down my great-grandparents’ grave the next day and send me a photo. I am forever grateful to you. We had a good nostalgia filled trip and I was also able to find the house my grandfather built for my grandmother in 1905 when they first got married.

You are a good lad and I am confident you will have that yacht someday! I am coming back and taking you up on your lunch offer.

Please keep in touch.


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