|English Bay with the fog rolling in - photo by Junie Quiroga
|View of Vancouver fog from the local mountains
|Typical GPS device for recreational boaters
Radar is the acronym for "radio detection and ranging" and, while the various components of a marine radar system are quite complicated in their design, the concept and process is actually as simple as understanding how a flashlight operates. Walking in the dark and using a flashlight you're actually sending out light waves that reflect off any object in front of you and bounce back to your eyes with your brain telling you what you're seeing and how far away it is. In the case of radar, radio waves are used instead of light waves to do the same thing.
|Ship radar display
While the safest way to navigate is in clear daylight, a mariner in the Pacific Northwest can easily get caught out and having radar can be a life saver. It's mandatory of course for commercial vessels but more and more recreational boaters are having it installed as well. When you're trying to get home to loved ones it isn't the message you send them that's important but rather the message your radar sends to you.
|Freighter appearing out of the fog - photo by Junie Quiroga