Accipiter Radar chooses Furuno for Niagara River safety system

(CAMAS, Wash.) — Boaters on the Niagara River will be safer on the water, thanks to a new safety system jointly commissioned by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and New York Power Authority (NYPA). This new system will help to detect, track, and identify boaters who may inadvertently venture into hazardous areas in the vicinity of the International Control Dam above Niagara Falls.

Designed by Accipiter Radar, this new safety system features active target detection in the form of the 25-kW Furuno FAR2127BB radar. Combined with high-resolution video detection and sophisticated audio alerting, this new system will help authorities detect and track recreational boaters who venture into the hazardous conditions of the exclusion zones around the International Niagara Control Works.

The International Control Works is a weir, a low head dam that controls water diversion from the Niagara River to both NYPA and OPG. Water from the Niagara River is diverted to intakes for both the American and Canadian power stations. More water is diverted in the evenings than during the day, filling the reservoirs overnight so Niagara Falls can be seen at peak glory for tourists during the daytime hours. The waters near the International Control Works can be particularly dangerous due to high turbulence and powerful currents, and because of their proximity to popular recreational boating sites, additional tools besides warning signs and buoys were required.

Accipiter's Radar Intelligence Networks (RIN) platform technology provides enhanced target tracking, analytics, and target information retention, and can employ radar sensors from any manufacturer. Accipiter selected the Furuno FAR2127BB radar with an 8-foot open array antenna for its reliability and capability to track even small craft, such as canoes and paddle boards, at all ranges of safety concern. The radar's ability to set a guard zone is vital to Accipiter's safety system, which will alert International Control Works operators to any traffic that enters into posted exclusion zones. A steerable loudspeaker, along with search light and high-resolution video camera, enables operators to assess the situation and to provide an audible warning to any approaching vessel that it is in imminent danger.

Accipiter is currently developing a next-generation system based on this same technology that is designed to alert NYPA and OPG ice-cutting crews as to where there are buildups of winter ice, as these may cause flooding, and be a hindrance to both OPG and NYPA power generation.

For more information, visit

By Professional Mariner Staff