Date (Y-M-D): 1998-10-27
Subject: Radar Reflectors on Small Vessels - Fittings and Limitations
This Bulletin replaces Bulletin No. 11/1995 and has been replaced by Bulletin No. 07/2008.
This Bulletin is to remind owners and operators of small vessels of the importance of complying with the requirements for using radar reflectors.
In the past few years, several small vessels operating in restricted visibility or heavy weather have been run down or swamped by larger vessels due to lack of detection. Subsequent investigations have revealed that many of these vessels did not have a properly fitted radar reflector or were not using one to increase their chances of being detected.
Small vessels generally make poor radar targets because they are mainly constructed of non-metallic materials and because they present a low profile due to their small amount of superstructure. Even in good visibility they are difficult to see from the bridge of a large vessel since they are so low down on the horizon that they do not show against the sky. In rough weather they are often screened by spray or may not be seen when in the through of a swell. At night their navigation lights may be concealed because of shore lights in the background. In restricted visibility, where radar and the exchange of sound signals are the only means of detection, it is important that vessels use a properly fitted radar reflector to indicate their presence to other vessels in the vicinity. This is particularly important for small fishing vessels which operate in all weather and in a manner which may make it difficult for larger vessels to determine what action they have to take in order to avoid collision.
In the ANNEX of TRANSPORT CANADA TP 1861 - STANDARDS FOR NAVIGATION LIGHTS, SHAPES, SOUND SIGNAL APPLIANCES AND RADAR REFLECTORS it is recommended that a radar reflector should be:
(i) preferably, of at least 10 m², mounted at a minimum height of 4 m above water level; or
(ii) if this is not practicable, of at least 40 m², mounted at a minimum height 2 m above water level.
With regard to the proper installation of radar reflectors, the axis of the reflector should be tilted 45 degrees to obtain optimal reflection and TP 1861 specifies as follows:
5.2 If there is a preferred orientation of mounting this should be clearly marked on the reflector. In the case of an octahedral reflector, the correct method of mounting is one corner cavity at the top and one at the bottom.
Keywords: Questions concerning this bulletin should be addressed to:
3. preferred orientation
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