Navigation Aids

Radar Reflector

A radar reflector is a metallic device that helps small boats show up on the radar screens of larger boats.

The best place to install a radar reflector is above all equipment and as high as possible.

All non-metallic vessels and all vessels less than 20m in length should be equipped with a radar reflector mounted above the superstructure and not less than 4m above the water, if possible.


You are not required to carry a reflector if:

  • You operate during daylight or in areas with limited traffic and favourable environmental conditions;
  • It is not essential to the safety of your boat, it is impractical to mount, or if you operate where radar is not used by other vessels.


Magnetic Compass

A magnetic compass is used to measure a boat’s course and direction in all weather conditions and does not require batteries or electricity to function.


A magnetic compass can be used to:

  • Take bearings of objects (floating and fixed) and can assist in plotting a position on a chart; and
  • Determine another vessel’s course relative to your vessel’s course (another vessel that keeps a constant bearing and reduction in range could indicate a possible collision course).


Due to the nature of a magnetic compass, it can be influenced by other metallic objects and electronic devices. For this reason, it’s important to keep the magnetic compass in an area free of magnetic and electrical interference. A magnetic compass may be required depending on the vessel’s length, if the vessel is operating more than 1 nautical mile from shore and/or outside of navigational sea marks.