What do you want to know about radar? How it works? How to work it? How to pick the right one for your boat? Where to install it? How to use it for position-fixing, close-quarters maneuvering, or avoiding a squall? The answers to these and hundreds of other radar questions are in the pages of this book.

Radar for Mariners is actually two books and then some. Part One gives the reader a working knowledge of radar, which, by itself, might be enough for some people. But David Burch knows how to wring every last bit of useful data from radar and explains it in Part Two — navigating, piloting, and maneuvering by radar, performance, limitations, and even a comprehensive look at radar as it relates to the Navigation Rules.

The “then some” is an interactive CD (Windows only) with a trial version of a radar simulator, sample radar manuals, printable plotting aids, and even a complete PDF copy of the Navigation Rules. The book is well illustrated with charts, drawings, and photos of actual radar screens (some of which are a bit fuzzy). It’s hard to imagine a more complete treatment of the subject for sailors

David Burch, director of the Starpath School of Navigation, is no stranger to teaching mariners about stars, weather, and navigation. With a Ph.D. in physics, he obviously knows what he’s talking about. However, getting complex ideas across in print is not always easy.

David accomplishes this with clear, understandable language that allows his enthusiasm for the subject to come across. His goal is to make you an expert small-craft radar operator. With this book and some practice at the screen, you’ll feel that you’re finally getting your money’s worth out of that mysterious dome.

Radar is an electronic tool the operation of which takes much more interpretation than any other — too little knowledge can be just as dangerous as none. Radar for Mariners will help you understand how radar works, explain its limitations, and show you how to get the full use of your radar’s functions. This book should show up on the radar screen of anyone with radar or contemplating getting one. I can’t wait to go to my boat and stop playing with my radar and start using it.

Radar for Mariners by David Burch (International Marine, 2005; 243 pages)