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Old 12-13-2016, 10:37 AM   #1
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Lower Helm w/Aft Cabin. Is a stern camera useful?

On my intro thread, several TF members mentioned that having a lower helm would be useless if the boat has an aft cabin, as it impedes visibility, primarily while docking. Point well taken...but I still want both of them. We plan to cruise the PNW well into late fall and early spring, and the lower helm will be needed.

Would a stern installed camera system solve that challenge?
Does anyone here have one? What are the results?

Thank you in advance!
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Old 12-13-2016, 11:25 AM   #2
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Whether an aft cabin, pilot house, sedan or salon design the rear end of any larger boat is visually challenged. Two things solve that any design issue. First, find a vessel that has good side doors readily accessible to the lower helm so you can step out and look back. Secondly get a head set for you and your mate so that inevitable blind spot to the rear is covered.

Or get really fancy and have a rear and either side docking station. Lots of ways to gain that rear end safety. But for gosh sakes look at many boats to make your mind up and avoid internet confusion.
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Old 12-13-2016, 11:26 AM   #3
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Do you have a rear view camera on your car? Are you satisfied with the resolution, field of depth, and brightness? What kind of monitor what you view it on? IMHO, the answer to those questions should give you an idea of how effective it would be.

In the interest of full disclosure, I don't one but if I still had the trawler, I would not be using a stern camera system.
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Old 12-13-2016, 11:31 AM   #4
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A stern mounted camera would be nice, but not really necessary. We cruise year round, lower helm with an aft cabin. There are a couple of rear facing windows so we can keep an eye behind to see anyone coming up from behind. When coming into a marina, I'll typically move up to the flybridge for docking, nothing beats the visibility from there.
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Old 12-13-2016, 11:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GANDK2PNW View Post
On my intro thread, several TF members mentioned that having a lower helm would be useless if the boat has an aft cabin, as it impedes visibility, primarily while docking. Point well taken...but I still want both of them. We plan to cruise the PNW well into late fall and early spring, and the lower helm will be needed.

Would a stern installed camera system solve that challenge?
Does anyone here have one? What are the results?

Thank you in advance!
I have a camera but no longer use it. I have replaced it with a wireless remote from Yacht Controllers far superior method of conning a boat in and out of tight spaces. The units are expensive but in my opinion well worth it. I can walk anywhere on the boat and have control. This will not work on boats that need rudder action but on newer boats with twins or single motor and one or two thrusters its a game changer. About the camera yes it will help if you have nothing better.
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Old 12-13-2016, 01:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GANDK2PNW View Post
On my intro thread, several TF members mentioned that having a lower helm would be useless if the boat has an aft cabin, as it impedes visibility, primarily while docking. Point well taken...but I still want both of them. We plan to cruise the PNW well into late fall and early spring, and the lower helm will be needed.

Would a stern installed camera system solve that challenge?
Does anyone here have one? What are the results?

Thank you in advance!
I have a pilothouse design and I have very poor visibility aft from the PH. There are other designs that are much better than mine in this regard and some that are worse. I have a rear facing camera which is very useful and adequate for most situations. However, it is not adequate for backing into a slip. My home slip I don't back into because of the dock configuration but when I do back into a slip I will either use the side door or will go to the fly bridge. Even the side door isn't all that easy since my helm station is on the centerline. If I had a boat with a starboard side helm station then it would be easier to stick my head out the door.

So, I think a single camera is likely not going to be adequate for backing into a slip without decent visibility otherwise. One thing that works well when you have a crew member along is to have them (your wife or you) to verbally tell the other how far away you are from the dock. My wife and I find this very helpful at times.
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Old 12-13-2016, 01:38 PM   #7
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Joy of a starboard helm with controls within arm's reach from the deck.

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Old 12-13-2016, 01:43 PM   #8
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I have a camera but no longer use it. I have replaced it with a wireless remote from Yacht Controllers far superior method of conning a boat in and out of tight spaces. The units are expensive but in my opinion well worth it. I can walk anywhere on the boat and have control. This will not work on boats that need rudder action but on newer boats with twins or single motor and one or two thrusters its a game changer. About the camera yes it will help if you have nothing better.
Yacht Controller is an excellent product and while expensive, no more so than multiple control stations are. Ideal situation on a boat is to be able to operate it from the stern, either side and the bow. That's an additional 4 sets of controls needed, all accomplished with a single Yacht Controller.

Do you have the conventional or the joystick remote? We've found the integration of engines and thrusters into a joystick to be very nice once one adjusts to it.
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Old 12-13-2016, 02:34 PM   #9
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Do you have a rear view camera on your car? Are you satisfied with the resolution, field of depth, and brightness? What kind of monitor what you view it on? IMHO, the answer to those questions should give you an idea of how effective it would be.

In the interest of full disclosure, I don't one but if I still had the trawler, I would not be using a stern camera system.
Yes, I got one of those rear amera thingies in my car. It works very well.
The mate head set is probably the best and most practical option, though.
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Old 12-13-2016, 05:01 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=markpierce;503892]Joy of a starboard helm with controls within arm's reach from the deck.



Ditto Mark. Starboard helm and controls right next to the slider. We cruise 12 months a year and in case you hadn't heard, it rains here on occasion. It's nice to have that comfy cabin. As for docking and departure, I use the FB helm if possible. But even while underway, situational awareness dictates that you get a good 180 look on a regular basis.
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Old 12-13-2016, 05:17 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=Poach;503948]
Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Joy of a starboard helm with controls within arm's reach from the deck.



Ditto Mark. Starboard helm and controls right next to the slider. We cruise 12 months a year and in case you hadn't heard, it rains here on occasion. It's nice to have that comfy cabin. As for docking and departure, I use the FB helm if possible. But even while underway, situational awareness dictates that you get a good 180 look on a regular basis.
The one place in docking that a stern camera at the minimum, or ideally controls like Yachtmaster really helps is in docking stern to. If you're going to an area with a lot of med mooring, then it becomes very valuable. Especially if you have a swim platform.
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Old 12-13-2016, 05:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Simmons View Post
A stern mounted camera would be nice, but not really necessary. We cruise year round, lower helm with an aft cabin. There are a couple of rear facing windows so we can keep an eye behind to see anyone coming up from behind. When coming into a marina, I'll typically move up to the flybridge for docking, nothing beats the visibility from there.
This right here ^^^^^

Any vessel will be a compromise, period. Whatever vessel you get, you will be attuned to it dimensionally as well as how she reacts and feels.

Last 2 boats have been aft cabin vessels without rear cameras- no problems at all docking or maneuvering.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:45 AM   #13
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QUOTE=GANDK2PNW;503845]On my intro thread, several TF members mentioned that having a lower helm would be useless if the boat has an aft cabin, as it impedes visibility, primarily while docking. Point well taken...but I still want both of them. We plan to cruise the PNW well into late fall and early spring, and the lower helm will be needed.

Would a stern installed camera system solve that challenge?
Does anyone here have one? What are the results?

Thank you in advance![/QUOTE]

Who told you that? As I have such a layout, I wonder what would be any different if I had a Sedan style boat? I would still be steering from approximately 1/2 of a boat length fwd of the transom. There would still be a cabin full of stuff to see through, or over. I would still want to open the door and look back along the unimpeded side deck. I would still go to the helm-free Port side and open that door to see along that unimpeded side deck. Maybe what you heard would apply equally well to a Sedan layout, or as Dave has indicated, even moreso to a PH layout.

My solution to backing in, should I happen to be steering from the main deck, is to go very slowly, look back from the open door before engaging any changes in throttle, gear or helm. I have never considered a camera. I can't imagine viewing a small screen would be any better than viewing the real setting, without boundaries, by sticking my head out the door.

I often back in from the Flybridge. There, as I have an open FB, I can steer facing the direction that I am going, I have to see past my kayaks and mast, and when getting close to anything, the dinghy on its davits. Control of the throttles and shifters is intuitive, as one faces in the direction of motion.

Judging the clearance to the boat behind, especially if I am side tying on a crowded dock, is the most challenging part. I frequently use available dockside helpers to give me that clearance in feet. This serves the additional purpose of keeping them away from my lines until I get to exactly where I want to be.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:33 AM   #14
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Many years ago when I owned a Pilgrim 40 I had set up a pair of truck mirrors outside above and just forward of the sliding pilot house doors. This was a low tech cheap way of keeping track of what was going on abeam and behind while at the helm. Not perfect but a lot better than nothing and I could still pop out of the door when needed. When things get critical there is still nothing like eyes on standing there at the critical point . That is the reason I am a strong proponent of a good wireless system. Next best is remote wired fixed or mobile controls a critical places. The bigger and more complex the top structure of a boat the more the need for these controls. Capable crew with two way radios conning the skipper in also works fairly well provided a good understanding between crew and helmsman.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:49 AM   #15
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Every boat has some vision issues and accessibility issues. It might be getting from the upper helm to the side deck. It might be lack of side decks. It might be vision limited by galley cabinets. Flybridge helms don't eliminate them all. They may give you a better all around view but depending on how far forward or back the helm is, there are still areas vision very close to the boat isn't good. So, the key is finding effective tools to work around any vision problem. Those tools may include a second person with a good walkie-talkie system, mirrors, cameras, wired controls at multiple locations and wireless controls. You just find what works best for you. Now, the key is to do whatever it takes. Don't just live with not being able to see and problems that result. Find the solution that works for you on your boat.
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Old 12-14-2016, 04:19 PM   #16
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Our Krogen 42 has no sight lines to the stern. For this reason I always docked from the upper helm. Now that I have installed a rear vision camera I dock from the lower helm when pulling into a slip bow first. the purpose of the camera is if I have to abort or straighten out in the fairway. I still use the upper helm if I am pulling in stern first as the 360 degree vision is much better.
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