Install a Marine Radar Reflector

What You'll Need
Radar Reflector

A marine radar reflector is used as a way of making small boats stand out on radar systems. Radar works by sending out sound waves and then drawing a picture based on the reflected sound waves. The larger the object, the bigger the reflection. A very small boat will only be shown by a small radar reflection.

A marine radar reflector will make boats more visible to other boats using the RADAR system.

Step 1 - Reasons for Radar Reflectors

Boats made out of wood or fiberglass are not normally as visible on radar systems as often as metal boats. A radar reflector can be used as a way of making your boat more visible. If you have a non metallic boat then people may find it very difficult to identify your boat on radar systems, this can put you in unnecessary danger which is why radar reflectors are so important.

Any non metallic fishing boat will need a radar reflector as a legal requirement. This needs to be visible for at least 6 miles legally.

Step 2 - Positioning the Radar Reflector

A radar reflector is quite simply a large metallic object which is fixed to your boat. Therefore, it's important that the device is fixed well above the waterline of your boat for optimum effectiveness. The metallic object can be fixed in a number of different ways. The radar reflector will need to be mounted on a pole on your boat. Choose the biggest radar reflector that your boat can accommodate.

The radar reflector needs to be located as high up on the boat as possible, by doing this you will maximize the chances of it effectively helping other sailors to identify your boat. Make sure that you locate this somewhere high up, but somewhere that won't impair the performance of your boat. This is something that you will have to think about carefully to get the best all round result.

Step 4 - Mounting the Radar Reflector

The radar reflector needs to be physically fixed to the boat, this can be done using a large pole or support. A large pole needs to be bolted onto the top of your boat and then the radar reflector is fixed to the top. The radar reflector is simply bolted onto the pole so that it can't move. 

Weather conditions out at sea can be vicious at times, the radar reflector needs to be securely fixed so that it can't come loose even in the harshest of weather conditions.

Step 5 - Testing

Now all you need to do is test that the radar reflector really does make your boat more visible. Get another boat to try and find you to check if this works. The more visible you are, the less dangerous sailing is. The sea is full of huge commercial vessels, which is why it's so important to make yourself stand out. This will prevent any accidental collisions which could not only be costly, but also dangerous.