Washington State Ferries (WSF) has partnered with Furuno on its latest large-scale fleet modernization to update chart radar on its ferries beginning with the Issaquah 130 class.
Originally built in 1979, the 328’x78’8”x16’6” Issaquah 130 class ferries have now been equipped with Furuno FAR3220BB chart radar. The FAR3000 radar series includes a variety of new features, including fast-target tracking. The tracking feature provides nearly instant data on acquired targets, according to Furuno, and is especially beneficial in the congested waterways near Seattle.
“The ability to track targets virtually instantaneously is a huge benefit,” said WSF Capt. Bill Hughes. “Where it can take up to three minutes for the ARPA [automatic radar plotting aid] to lock in, we now get that information very quickly. The accuracy of this initial information is higher than earlier target tracking.”
Furuno said that the new chart radar also features an advanced clutter elimination circuit, or ACE, which automatically adjusts the sea and rain clutter controls according to the current sea and weather conditions, giving operators the ability to optimize the radar with a single control. The FAR3000 series also has an advanced interference reduction function designed to ensure that valid target echoes don’t shrink, even with interference reduction on.
“The ACE Feature is very handy and is an extremely valuable tool for enhancing weak targets in fog or darkness,” said Capt. Hughes. “In side-by-side comparisons with sea conditions that create challenges in inland waters, excessive sea returns are easily handled. The target presentation of the FAR3000 appears to have crisper processing than the FAR2127.”