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Old 02-13-2010, 11:03 PM   #1
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FLIR Thermal Imaging Cameras

Does anyone use them? Are they a boon to night nav?

FLIR
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Old 02-14-2010, 02:43 AM   #2
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RE: FLIR Thermal Imaging Cameras

Havn't got one but from speaking to several ppl that do.

all describe them as a cool toy

most say they are of no or little practical use
*a few rate them as useful but not overly so
most say they probabley would buy one again depending on the prise getting better
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:56 AM   #3
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RE: FLIR Thermal Imaging Cameras

After cruising extensively for almost 18 years, I can not think of any time that the cost of these units would be justified by the use. If you are of the type that has to have the latest and greatest toy installed than go for it. If you have other needs on board, I would consider those first, but that is just me. Chuck
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Old 02-14-2010, 05:25 PM   #4
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RE: FLIR Thermal Imaging Cameras

They are a great tool for search and rescue. If you did a lot of night travel they might be a good adjunct to the other more conventional nav tools. I wouldn't buy one for my boat until the prices got a lot better.

I use a TIC (thermal imaging camera) on a regular basis in the Fire Dept. Search and rescue in fire buildings is greatly enhanced with their use. We use them at motor vehicle accidents to make sure we didn't miss any ejected victims. We use them after fires to make sure we got every hot spot in the building or to find the fire when it's hidden in the wall. They are great for finding overheated ballasts in flourescent lights in the ceilings of large stores when they can smell a problem but no smoke is visible yet. PD uses them to look for bad guys in the bushes.

Ours have a scale on the side which tells the approximate temperature in degrees which is extremely helpful in determining if something is cooling down or still heating up. I don't recall if the FLIR on the fireboat is as sensitive in temperature since I don't get down there as much anymore since being promoted. They do make things in the water readily visible if the temperature is different than the surroundings.

Ken
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:31 PM   #5
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RE: FLIR Thermal Imaging Cameras

Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

My abiding concern (for concern read fear) is hooking lobster pots at night. Having been caught in the middle of what's called the Alderney Race which is between Alderney and the French coast in the English Channel, I want to explore any avenue of chance to see pots/pot markers to give myself a chance of steering clear.

How do you cope with night boating?
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:01 PM   #6
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RE: FLIR Thermal Imaging Cameras

Quote:
Piers wrote:

How do you cope with night boating?
Up here with all the debris in the water--- mostly big logs that have escaped from log booms or come down the rivers, some on the surface, some floating vertically with just their tops touching the surface, plus huge kelp an eel grass mats, and various piece of floating lumber ranging from a part of a board to a part of a shed--- running at night in the typical recreational boat tends to be avoided.* The farther north you go the worse this debris can get.* A lot of this stuff is hard enough to see during the day depending on the lighting, and a night-vision system would probably not be of much value, especially if the water was at all rough.* Radar can pick up some of the crab pot buoys if the water is very calm because most of them have large metal fender washers as part of the float hardware.* But for each one they do paint there are plenty that they don't paint, so radar's not a reliable avoidance method.

We have floodlights that can be mounted in the jackstaff mount above the bow pulpit and plugged into waterproof 12vdc outlet in the side of the cabin to illuminate things that show up directly in front of us, but even then I wouldn't trust it to show us everything.* So we don't run at night although we have gotten caught out a couple of times and had to run the last few miles across Bellingham Bay (a hotbed of crab pot buoys and logs that come down the Nisqually River) and it is not much fun.

The commercial fishboats up here are built to withstand the collisions with all this stuff and many of them run at night with their forward flood lights on.

*
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Old 02-15-2010, 07:41 PM   #7
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RE: FLIR Thermal Imaging Cameras

Piers,
We have done a good bit of night boating the last several years across area lakes and coastal running to and from the islands we have along the Mississippi coast. For me it is about common sense things that you have probably read. If I am leaving on a trip and want to get an early start I minimize my exposure to light from the moment I get up. I usually have someone else making coffee, checking engine oil, etc. and then I take control as we leave from the flybridge. We have a rechargeable spotlight we keep up top for when we suspect something in the water. I close my eyes and the mate confirms/ denies what we think we see. We run from uptop except in cold weather. If someone needs something from inside, I never go. We always have myself and someone else concentrating on every water feature. I think staying focused- with no distractions - is crucial. We have strings of crab traps where we boat which need to be watched for.
Almost always- my first passage to somewhere new is not at night. I set my initial backtrack with running at night later in mind, staying well clear of navigational aids, pilings, etc.. After the initial backtrack I ALWAYS follow that track coming and going. Man do I catch grief over this one- but if it worked the first time- then keeping on that track will work every time. Rain, dark, tired, you name it. Obviously the nights leading up to a full moon and several afterwards are premium running time. The moon just comes up later and you can adjust your time to work around it.
Leaving before daylight and coming in after dark has allowed us many enjoyable boating hours we never would have had with our busy work schedule.
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:04 AM   #8
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FLIR Thermal Imaging Cameras

Steve: I have a suggestion for you. Get a pair of goggles with "red" lenses. Put them on 1 hour before assuming the duties of helmsman. You'll be "dark adapted" . When I was in the Navy and working the flight deck for carrier quals, that was what we were required to do and it worked quite well. We spent 45 minutes to an hour in the ready room with the goggles on before going top side for the launches. If you have to leave the helm to go into lighted spaces, put them back on and you won't lose your night vision.


-- Edited by SeaHorse II on Tuesday 16th of February 2010 10:06:28 AM

-- Edited by SeaHorse II on Tuesday 16th of February 2010 10:17:49 AM
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Old 02-16-2010, 05:53 PM   #9
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RE: FLIR Thermal Imaging Cameras

Good idea.
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