Radar safety

Aquavit

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Does anyone out there have any sensible literature on the safety of using marine radar. I am trying to establish how safe it is to use a radar (Raymarine 4 kW radome) when using upper helm (flybridge). I have heard that the radiation risk is tiny ("you can run these things all day in your bedroom with no ill effects" and "less than the radiation emitted by a mobile phone") but the Raymarine safety sheet states that eyes can be damaged (avoid facing radome) and pacemakers affected (I don't have one fortunately) and strongly recommend the dome is situated above head height. It is not possible for me to do that without a new radar arch but I would prefer to be on upper helm inb fog etc using radar!
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trev

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There are a lot of old wives tales about radars and radiation. I can only say that I have been around radars all of my working life, much longer than the average boat/yachtsman will ever be, and have never suffered ill effects, or know of any colleague who has a radar induced illness.
Of course you musn't go out of your way to stare at any transmitter, but that's common sense, and the system is much safer since the old fashioned 'wave guide' has disappeared. If flybridge boats fitted with radar were a danger it surely would have been apparent by now.
My own boat is a sportscruiser with no alternative but to stand in front of (though slightly below) the scanner.
 

mjf

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I have an open array and i reckon the only chance of getting hurt is when you inadvertantly step back to admire your excellent manouvering and the scanner bonks your nut!


and...........you fall down the flybridge steps.



(nice to see you on sunday BTW)
 

DERF

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Unless of course your radar image is 180 deg out and you've been relying on it to see whats comming at you, but you hit a land mass that's not where you think it is, or another vessel that shows on your starboard quarter rather than port bow,


And ...... in the ensuing impact you fall down the Flybridge steps!
 

ShipsWoofy

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The reason the literature suggests that you do not look at the scanner while it is transmitting is because your eyes will focus on the RF and you could damage your retinas.

In open air RF power falls off very quickly, within a metre it will be at micro watts so your average yacht type radar should pose no risk at all. Probably not a great idea to touch the array while it is on though!

I work on military radar which has a safe working distance of 30m when transmitting, but that is a whole different kettle of fish!

Another thing worth noting, non ionising radiation, i.e. RADAR, does not build up over time, you will not start suffering because you spent more time on the flybridge this year and all the tiny bits of RF exposure have added up to make you ill. The exposure badges you may have seen are for Ionising radiation which will build up over time being exposed to tiny amounts.

Hope this helps a little....

P.s. I still use waveguide!
 

Juggler7823

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"eyes focus on the RF", I don't think so! Your eye can only focus on what it can see. The advice is given because the eye is mainly water and hence very susceptible to RF heating.
 

eddieperkins

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You could raise the height of the radar by cutting suitable lengths of S/S tubing and bolting through them, probably good for 6 inches, more if you get them welded together in a simple mast type thingy. Also agree you are more at risk using mobile phone. Try telling the kids of today that!! <font color="blue"> </font>
Regards,
Eddie
 

ShipsWoofy

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Sorry, it was what our once a year RF safety bod told us, I had no reason to disbelieve. Do you know better for certain or are you just guessing?
 

Aquavit

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Thank you all for your excellent replies - would still like to see some trial data on this. None appears to exist.
Best wishes
David
 

hlb

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I only know that the only time I get head ache is when the radar is on and I'm up the fly bridge. I have been told I'm wrong manytimes. But it's not quite as bad as getting thumped by it on its way round. Hope this helps!!
 

Piers

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Try 6 (b) ("safe speed" and use of radar) and 7 (b) ("risk of collision" and use of radar)

I suspect the ohnly get out is whether "operational radar" means switched on or not!

I will ask those who know and report!
 

trev

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Exactly Piers, - the term is 'operational' - which is only when the set is switched on. It is to ensure the information given by, and the limitations of the set, are understood correctly.
 

mjf

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I do not think that there is a rule that says your radar must be on as you suggested, in fine clear weather with little trafffic why must it be on?

In reduced vis then I agree 'all available means' etc.

If you have a radar fitted you MUST be able to use it - thats the rule surely?
 

Piers

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Seeing you are a marine pilot I suspect you must be right.

Am I right in thinking that what you are saying is that the regs word "operational" means "able to function but not necessarily turned on".

I have asked the MCA and will let you know what they say!
 
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