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On Our Radar

On Our Radar

Understanding Marine Open Array Radar and Its Importance for Safety

Marine navigation is a field where safety and precision are of paramount importance. Sailors, fishermen, and commercial ship operators alike depend on reliable technology to navigate waters safely, especially during adverse weather conditions. One such indispensable tool is the marine open array radar. In this article, we will delve deep into what marine open array radar is and why it’s crucial for ensuring safety at sea.

What is Marine Open Array Radar?

Open array radar consists of a rotating antenna mounted on a ship or boat, which sends out radio waves to detect and pinpoint the location of objects in its vicinity. The "open" in open array implies that the radar's antenna is openly mounted and is generally quite large, ranging from 3 to 12 feet in length. These radar systems come equipped with a display unit that provides the operator with a real-time visual representation of nearby objects.

How Does it Work?

The working principle of open array radar is based on the reflection of radio waves. When the emitted radio waves hit an object, they get reflected back. The radar system then processes these reflected signals to determine the object's distance, size, and movement direction.

Why is Marine Open Array Radar Important for Safety?

  1. Improved Range and Accuracy: Given their larger antenna size, open array radars typically offer a much more extended range than their dome or closed array counterparts. They can detect distant objects, sometimes up to 96 nautical miles away, ensuring that the vessel has ample time to make navigation decisions.

  2. Better Resolution: Open array systems can differentiate between two closely situated objects better than smaller dome radar systems. This is particularly useful in congested waterways, where multiple vessels or obstacles may be close together.

  3. Weather Detection: Apart from detecting solid objects, these radars can also provide insights into upcoming weather patterns. Sailors can get early warnings about potential storm fronts or squalls, allowing them to take preventive measures.

  4. Safety in Low Visibility: Fog, rain, and darkness can severely impede visual navigation. In such conditions, open array radar becomes an invaluable tool, helping the captain or helmsman to "see" through obstructions and navigate safely.

  5. Assists in Collision Avoidance: One of the primary purposes of radar is to avoid collisions. With the high-resolution imaging and extended range of open array radars, vessels can safely navigate around obstacles and other ships, even in crowded sea routes.

  6. Bird Finding Capabilities: For fishing boats, spotting birds can be an indication of fish below. Many commercial fishermen use open array radars to locate birds from a distance, leading them to more fruitful fishing grounds.


Marine open array radar systems are more than just a technological marvel; they are a beacon of safety in the unpredictable realm of the sea. While technology can never replace the skills and instincts of seasoned sailors, it can provide them with accurate, real-time information that can be the difference between safe passage and disaster. Whether you're piloting a small fishing boat or commanding a large cargo vessel, the investment in a reliable open array radar system is an investment in safety and peace of mind.

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