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Old 25 September 2002, 02:54   #1
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Radar Reflectors on RIBs?

[Prompted by postings in other threads]

With reference to the MCA leaflet and regulation/19, just what is and isn't practicable? And what's the definition of a small craft anyway?

Clearly no tender is going to have a radar reflector, so they must not count as small craft.

I have no A frame, so it's not practicable for me to fit a radar reflector, is it?

Regulation/19 actually uses the words "All ships irrespective of size ...". So am I driving a ship now???

cheers,
Simon
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Old 25 September 2002, 03:00   #2
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The smaller you "ship", the more you need the radar reflector!

Have a look at how the RNLI fix theirs - they use the simplest (and cheapest) radar reflector on a pole mounted onto the transom.

I'll be getting one for my SIB!
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Old 25 September 2002, 03:51   #3
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A worthy post - i was going to post it myself.

One of my objectives for the boat show was to source a radar reflector, but found nothing suitable.

My interpretation of the new reg's is 'must carry' so i intended to source a folding / inflatable (yes they do exsist) type and look to errect it when conditions and circumstances dictate.

Since i saw nothing of this type @ said boat show it's back to web searching i guess. Any suggestions welcome - i'll keep this post notified if i find anything, which should be soon since this is a pressing issue for me.

Daniel.
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Old 25 September 2002, 03:57   #4
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Here's some:

Small: http://www.on-line-marine.com/online...f%5Fid=2007014

Medium: http://www.on-line-marine.com/online...f%5Fid=2007015

Large: http://www.on-line-marine.com/online...f%5Fid=2007016

And, err, inflatable... http://www.on-line-marine.com/online...f%5Fid=2007020

Now I believe that you're supposed to mount them so they present a "square aspect" - not pointy bit up as illustrated
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Old 25 September 2002, 04:02   #5
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Blimey why aern't these people in my list of on-line marine people? Folds flat for a tenner, inflatable for 100...

I know which one i'm going for at first. The idea will be to get a friend with radar to see what i 'look like' with the thing cable-tied onto the A-frame.

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Old 25 September 2002, 04:30   #6
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During RB4 we tried repeatedly to get a radar return from 5m RIBS with radar reflectors on A Frames and in once case held up in someones hand with absolutely no luck whatsover. (This was using the Raymarine unit of Cyanide.). Personal opinion is that a radar reflector on a RIB is a waste of time, irrespective of what regulation says.
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Old 25 September 2002, 04:41   #7
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Alan,
what type were the reflectors?
The reason I ask is that I believe that the plastic housed "blip" and "prism" type have been tested and shown to be pretty useless, and only the simple fold-flat type (as well as the expensive "active" ones) are any good.
I think it was PBO or some magazine ran the test about a year ago.
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Old 25 September 2002, 05:20   #8
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One was the long thing tube type (highly technical description I know) which Team Spirit had mounted on a mast approx 1 metre above sea level (until the mast broke under the pounding). The other was the traditional "octohedral" (?) metal jobbie which I think you refer to as the simple fold flat type. In the case of the latter, Hugh on Bangor Challenger held the thing up by hand and even when we were a couple of hundred metres away we could get no return.

IMHO the only serious way of producing a radar return on a small open boat like a RIB is to use an active transponder. (i.e. one that detects radar emissions and transmits a pulse in response. Rather like a Racon beacon.) Trouble is if we all had those can you imagine how cluttered a radar screen would look!

The MCA have done an outstanding job of not informing the leisure boating community of the requirements of new international legislation. The RYA ditto. Most of this as far as I understand applies more to boats over 45ft. However alledgedly ALL boats need to have a passage plan before they set out on any journey even be it a blast around the bay. I believe these regulations are largely unenforcable!

Cheers,
Alan
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Old 25 September 2002, 05:24   #9
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The RYA ran an informative article in the most recent mag. that provided an explanation of the stuff that applied to leisure craft. I'll try and find it.

Are most people RYA members?

Dan
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Old 25 September 2002, 05:32   #10
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Yeah but only 'cos I had to join to get my ICC after doing my PB2!
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Old 25 September 2002, 05:37   #11
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I think they get a lot of members like that. I always encourage people to join after an ICC test / L2 etc., they save the few 's on the free ICC offer, and i feel like it's my duty to encourage membership as an instructor.

I wonder how many people don't renew the next year?

Anyway - Did you see the article i refer to?

Daniel
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Old 25 September 2002, 06:08   #12
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Do not bother buying a reflector, just stick an empty bake been tin on a pole it will do exactly the same job! As far as I am aware there is no set specification for a reflector anyway with the exception that it must be able to be seen by other users which is all very well providing their equipment is working OK!
Alan P
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Old 25 September 2002, 09:03   #13
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Just a thought-ette...
I know on RB4 we found a mixture of diferent radar reflectors on small boats to be virtually useless, but........
maybe that's because Cyanide only has a "starter" radar set of minimal spec. AND we are not a big ship/resue craft/mil. helicopter which may have such super-dooper radars and other electronics that they CAN see a small boats fitted with el-cheapo radar reflectors.
Any professionals care to comment?
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Old 25 September 2002, 09:39   #14
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D'you think that rusting liberian registered banana boat bearing down on a RIB neccessarily has the best kit that money can buy?!

Hmm, I think you are doing your radar down a bit Brian as I think it is the same kit as fitted to many larger leisure powerboats and some workboats too. The key issue is height of scanner above sea level vs say a large motor/sail yacht or small ship.

I had a huge laugh to myself whilst doing my PB2 a few years ago off Harwich when the instructor glibly stated that since we were now in the Harwich VTS controlled area they of course had us on radar. This was in a 5 m Flatacraft RIB with no A frame. Decided that if they had good enough radar to actually pick us up it'd have to be so powerful we'd be microwaved first!!

Alan
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Old 25 September 2002, 15:45   #15
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Sacked the RYA some years ago because they didn't do anything for us, too much rag and stick brigade stuff.

Although small radars may not see you rest asured that big ones can. Did a trip across the Bristol channel from Tenby straight across going due south using a pair of Ospreys 5.95 and 5.25m in 1995. The Royal Artillery at Manorbier (near Tenby) monitor there radar because there is an active missile range there. They followed us all the way and even noted what time we changed course to enter port. And that was 45 miles away across the channel. Although I do take the point that they were professionally qualified and had the radar 200 ft up on a cliff. Never the less we showed up very well. Wonder if customs and excise use radar for seeking little rubber boats at night time ? or shouldn't I ask that ?

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Old 25 September 2002, 17:23   #16
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If there is no legal definition of a 'Radar Reflector' and those plastic long thin tubey things aren't that good anyway, can't we argue that the A Frame will reflect radar?
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Old 26 September 2002, 07:11   #17
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Hi folks

I agree with Alan, most people I talk to belive that a radar reflector on a RIB wont add much to its RCS. This includes coast guard stations from prople who man "proper" (not thats yours isnt proper Alan) radar.
Even the RNLI are scrapping radar reflectors and going to active target enhancers. There is one called See-Me which is small enough for a RIB, cheap (ish) and from reports will allow a RIB to be seen at about 10-16 miles !!. The only snag is it only works on the X band radar so if a ships using S band, which they somtimes do in heavey rain it wont work.

Dont know what the RNLI plan to use but it may be worth trying to find out.

Also about the Manobier range, This is my fave area for holidays, and its very likly that they would see you on radar.
However I have walked across Manobier and Castlemartin ranges (when they are not firing !!) and the radar stations they use are hugh must be 50 foot across the scanner and as pete says very high on the cliffs. I have never seen radars like these on ships other than large war ships.


Regards Gary
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Old 26 September 2002, 07:17   #18
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The RNLI guy was quite adament i should have one when i had a SeaCheck done a few months ago. I appreciate it's a generic check list but the guy was quite down to earth and helpful.

That, coupled with the new regs iswhat prompted me to get one. Looks like i'll keep my tenner and keep saving for an active jobbie.

Dan
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Old 26 September 2002, 11:34   #19
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The sea-me web site - believe it or not is.....

www.sea-me.co.uk

The unit sells for 410.

Has anybody seen one? - They were at the boatshow apparently - or does anyone have a standard radar reflector fitted?

something like this would fit nicely on the A-frame

http://www.on-line-marine.com/online...dept%5Fid=2007

and is just a bit cheaper!

Jools
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Old 26 September 2002, 12:13   #20
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This is a smart little unit that I have seen fitted to all the Hobie-cats over here as well as a on a few Rib's A-Frames. Check it out

Not at all expensive, and actually looks aesthetically pleasing and aerodynamic, compared to the other monstrosities
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