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Simrad® Halo® Dome pulse compression radars have recently received substantial enhancements in their collision avoidance tools, accessible through Simrad® multifunction displays.

In this article, we delve into the reasons why radar significantly improves your boating experience and how to maximize the latest features.

Boating grants a sense of freedom, allowing you to steer your boat where you please, within the bounds of navigational conventions and safety rules.

However, with the unpredictable nature of watercraft movements, maintaining situational awareness is crucial. Even in clear visibility, deciphering whether an approaching vessel is heading towards you, away, or anchored can be challenging, compounded by your own boat’s motion.

This is where radar comes to the fore, consistently proving its value in providing situational awareness. It’s not just a tool for low-visibility conditions; it should be your ever-present companion at the helm. In this article, we explore the compelling reasons why you should keep your boat’s radar system activated.

MARPA: Extra Eyes for Your Boat – The challenge intensifies when monitoring multiple vessels simultaneously. Imagine a scenario where a sailing yacht is altering its course ahead, a ship appears to be approaching head-on from a distance, and fast powerboats are overtaking you from astern. In such situations, it would be incredibly helpful to have extra sets of eyes, and this is where the ‘MARPA’ (Mini Automatic Radar Plotting Aid) function on your radar becomes indispensable.

By operating MARPA on a Simrad® Halo radar and multifunction display, you can manually select the most concerning targets, highlighting them with a touch screen or control. This action provides data on the speed and direction of these selected targets. Moreover, it calculates and displays their closest point of approach (CPA) and the time of the closest point of approach (TCPA).

To witness an example of operating MARPA to track a target ahead, using a Halo radar and NSSevo3S™ multifunction display.

Color-Coded Alerts – There is a longstanding Simrad® feature called VelocityTrack™, which simplifies the process of understanding a target’s movement. It uses color coding to indicate whether a target is approaching your boat (yellow), moving away (blue), or is stationary (red). Importantly, VelocityTrack™ can be customized by the user, allowing you to tailor the information you see at a glance to your preferences.

VelocityTrack™ is available on all radars in the Simrad® Halo® family, except for the Halo20 model. To see the advantages of VelocityTrack™ in action, you can refer to this demonstration video.

All Stations Alarm – A recent feature introduced in the Simrad® NOS 20.2.1 operating system update for Halo20+ and Halo24 pulse compression Dome radars is the Dangerous Target Alert. This user-definable alarm appears on the screen you are using at the time to ensure you do not overlook any MARPA targets that pose a threat. This function also works with AIS (Automatic Tracking System) targets, enhancing your safety on the water.

Enhancing Situational Awareness – MARPA targets have traditionally displayed a bearing line to indicate the direction of travel and the distance a target vessel will cover over a specific period. In its latest software release, Simrad has introduced a ‘trail’ feature for MARPA targets, displaying the historical track of a vessel over a user-defined period. This addition significantly aids in understanding vessel behavior at a glance.

Consider a fishing vessel, which may seem to follow an erratic path over time. A quick glance at the radar image might suggest it’s maintaining a constant course and speed. However, observing its trail would alert you to potential course and speed adjustments.

Similarly, in situations where you rely on another boat to comply with international ColRegs or local navigation rules, monitoring its trail can provide early insights into its intentions.

ZoneTrack™: Next-Generation Collision Avoidance – Imagine if the radar could automatically identify and track potential threats for you. That’s precisely what the latest Simrad® NOS 20.2.1 operating system update for Halo20+ and Halo24 pulse compression Dome radars offers with ZoneTrack™. This feature enables automatic tracking of all vessels entering a user-defined area, such as an arc ahead of your boat. The radar captures and monitors vessels entering this zone.

When combined with Dangerous Target Alerts, ZoneTrack™ provides a powerful suite of tools to safeguard your boat, reducing your workload, especially in busy waters. It offers assistance previously only seen on larger ship radars but delivered in an accessible manner. You have control over the area to be monitored, enabling customization, such as ignoring static targets like buoys.

For installations contact Harald Farthofer Ph: 0403 950 709


Published in print January-March 2024