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Search Techniques

Establishing sweep widths

To practice establishing viable sweep widths for targets by using Radar
To build an appreciation of the Radars capability to detect different targets in different conditions

No particular preparation needed all that is needed is a suitable radar reflective target a passing vessel,
or a vessel at anchor/moored.

A suitable target (vessel) is sighted visually and identified to the crew.
Crew are asked to give their estimate as to targets distance.
Distance to target is established using the Radars VRM and /or cursor.

That crew become more proficient at estimating distance
By rotating the crew on the Radar they all become more familiar and proficient with its use
Using this exercise in different conditions and on different targets, will build appreciation of the Radars
capability to detect different targets in different conditions

Notes / Variations on Exercise
This is a very simple and quick exercise that can be carried out at any time.

By deliberately altering the set up (brilliance, gain, tuning sea clutter etc) the importance of correctly setting
up the Radar can be demonstrated (as the target is made to disappear and then re appear)

It is important to stress that while many Radar sets have Auto functions for setting Gain, Sea Clutter etc
these are NOT a substitute for adjusting manually. Most auto functions will get the Radar n the ball park but
to get the best out of the Radar, particularly in adverse conditions it will have to be adjusted manually.

Although the exercise is principally about establishing sweep widths for possible search targets (vessels) the
exercise is still viable as a practice in estimating distance and using the radar if navigation buoys, or the land
is used as the target.

If a search is to be carried out using Radar as the principal detection aid (missing/broken down vessel at
night/poor vis) then the only people that can work out a viable Radar sweep width are the crew of the CRV.
Every Radar is different and its only by having a good understanding of its capabilities will you be able to
estimate a sweep width for a given vessel in given conditions i.e.

A 16 tinny, wind 15 20 kts sea 1- 1.5 m.

Keeping a record of some of your observations during these exercises will help to ensure you are making an
informed decision not just a guess as to sweep width.