A mandatory aid to navigation, the radar is used in identifying, tracking and positioning of vessels among other things in order to adhere to the COLREGs so as to safety navigate a ship from one point to another.
The marine radar is classified under the x-band (10 GHz) or S-band (3GHz) frequencies. The x-band, being of higher frequency is used for a sharper image and better resolution whereas the S-band is used especially when in rain or fog as well as for identification and tracking. tracking ship devices are compulsory as per COLREGS (International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea).
SOLAS Chapter 5, Regulation 19 states that All ships of 3000 gross tonnages and upwards shall, in addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph 2.5, have a 3 GHz radar or where considered appropriate by the Administration a second 9 GHz radar, or other means to determine and display the range and bearing of other surface craft, obstructions, buoys, shorelines and navigational marks to assist in navigation and in collision avoidance, which are functionally independent of those referred to in paragraph.