it as much LCD territory as possible. The bigger the picture
you’re looking at, the easier it will be to figure out what’s what.
And when you really need radar, looking at something like the
fishfinder should be the least of your concerns, so dedicate that
entire MFD screen to what counts. Overlays of information
can cause problems or solve them, so as we said before, see
what works for you.
Finally, remember that some thoughtful interpretation is
often necessary. Three strong returns that remain static and
are lined up neatly in a row are likely to be a series of channel
markers; weak returns that come and go are often poor targets
like small fiberglass boats; and two targets keeping pace close
to each other could be a tug and its barge. Accurately reading
returns like these requires a different sort of algorithm—the
one that’s in your own brain.
Yes, it will take some practice to
accurately and proficiently determine
what’s on the LCD screen. But we do
have one very big piece of good news for
you: Today’s modern radars have such
advanced processing powers that you’ll
rarely need to adjust anything. Gone are
the days of constantly fiddling with sea
state and clutter adjustments to get a
clear picture on the screen. Leave your
unit on auto mode and in most situations, it can do a better job than you or
I at presenting the best possible picture.
And whether you’re trying to navigate through a pea-soup fog
or the inky darkness, that one fact alone will make using your
radar far easier than ever before.
Never overestimate radar, or any other equipment, however. For example, most radars will not see through significant
amounts of rain, and you may find yourself running blind if
you’ve only relied on radar as you approach the storm. Also, it’s
very important to practice steering to radar. Refresh rates of
the best screens are less than what we’re accustomed to with
our vision. And loss of horizon, shorelines, and other external
data can drastically affect orientation, distance perception, turn
rates, and other things. Practice running on radar alone when
it’s safe, in good weather, to learn what it can be like in pea
soup. You may be very surprised.
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