Ship Radar Theory – Use of Radar in Ships

Author: Aman


The word dynamic can easily be described as a synonym of science. Science has established its application in each and every field. And like in any other field its inventions have enhanced even the marine industry. From the working mechanism of a ship vessel to cleaning and maintenance of a ship, scientific applications find their use.

Radars are one such scientific application that are widely used in ships for navigation and ship collision avoidance, weather prediction to specify a few. The term Radar was beveled in 1940 by the US Navy. It stands for Radio Detection and Ranging.  It is and absolute essential in the ships of today as it provides a bird eye view. In this article we will be studying the ship radar theory in the following sections  as well as the uses of a  radar.

Ship Radar Theory – Working Principle

A RADAR cannot be considered to be the work on a single scientist or engineer rather a number of people have been involved in giving the RADAR the present shape, form and uses. The working principle of a RADAR is simple. It is uses electromagnetic waves for its work. A RADAR consists of a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter transmits radio waves which bounce when encounter any obstacle in their path and are received by the receiver. The distance at which the object that caused the deflection of the waves is calculated based on the time taken by the radio waves to return.

Types of RADAR

There are different types of RADARS that have been customized depending on the use that it has to be put to. For our article we are primarily concerned with Navigation RADARS. The other type of RADAR are:

  • Air Search RADAR
  • Height Finding RADAR
  • Fire Control RADAR

Application of RADAR on Ships

  • The basic information that is provided by a radar is the bearing and the range, from this every thing else is calculated including position speed, course etc.

  • The first basic use of marine radar was in military, it was used to locate sea targets. Even today it is used by the Navy to locate targets
  • To find out the bearing and distance of ships as this is necessary to prevent ship collision
  • To navigate and determine the course
  • To fix their various positions at sea when several fixed references such as islands, buoys, and lightships are in the range
  • Vessel traffic service radar systems installed basically on harbors are implemented to monitor and regulate ship movements in high density and thick busy waters
  • They are also used for measuring ocean surface waves
  • Sea traffic control i.e. notifying position to others is an important task for which RADAR is used
  • Another important use of a RADAR is in determination of weather. They can be used to detect storms, rains and breaking waves
  • RADAR on a floating vessel plays an important role in avoidance of a collision
  • Sea clutters have always been dangerous especially when visibility is poor. This anti-clutters control can be adjusted through the proper use of radars

The use of science and technology no way undermines the role of the human resource. To run all machines efficiently and in an error free manner trained personnel are needed. The RADAR falls under the purview of the navigating officers.

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