THE Hong Kong Ferry Company is to introduce a sophisticated radar system and boost coxswain training to help improve marine safety. The president and chief executive officer of Hong Kong Ferry (Holdings), Peter Wong Man-kong, says the public is becoming increasingly alarmed by the growing number of accidents and near misses involving ferry boats and other shipping. The new systems, to be announced today, will help quell these fears. The first involves the introduction of a sophisticated radar system to warn ferry coxswains of potential incidents and allow them to take avoiding action. Up to now most coxswains have piloted their ferries visually but this can be difficult, especially when it is dark or foggy or in rough weather. Mr Wong is hoping the radar will give early warning of dangerous situations and enable coxswains to stop or slow down in time to prevent an accident. Hong Kong Ferry is also installing an onshore training simulator, believed to be the only one of its kind in Hong Kong, to help increase the skill of coxswains. The simulator will offer a cheaper and more efficient way of training personnel, a company spokesman said. ''We will be able to increase the shipping skills of our staff and allow more people to train as coxswains. ''In time, this will lead to an increase in the number of services we are able to provide,'' she said. The simulator will help Hong Kong Ferry plan the introduction of new afternoon and evening hoverferry services between Wan Chai and Tuen Mun in the next few months. ''Ferries only run from Wan Chai in the morning, but we are planning to increase the frequency in the afternoon and introduce a night service to Tuen Mun,'' the spokesman said. As part of his safety initiative, Mr Wong is also urging the Government to step up marine safety especially near the reclamation areas in Central and Kowloon.