There are many gadgets on the market today designed to make our boating safer and more stress free. One brand of equipment I have had the pleasure of using on two occasions recently is a FLIR night vision camera. One was a roof mounted; a fully remote control version connected to a 17” Furuno display and the second was a much simpler, but very effective hand held unit.
There are pros and cons for both but what initially grabbed my attention for these items is the practicality of them. When travelling on two recent trips I made, we needed to keep moving through the night to make our destination. Now radars and chart plotters give you a very good idea of what is around, however, the FLIR cameras enable you to monitor your surroundings and keep watch on anything in or on the water.
One product was the FLIR Scout PS24 Thermal night vision hand held unit. It is a basic model but still has various features like 2x zoom, screen brightness adjustment, LED work light when in off mode and the ability to switch between White Hot and Black Hot screens. Using this enabled me to see logs and buoys in the water up to 50-60m away and gave me enough time to divert and avoid the danger in the water. The first few times I spotted danger in the water ahead, I thought this tool may be too good by taking away the fear of what’s ahead. However, when combining this tool with your radar and chart plotter and your safety travelling at night becomes a lot more of a day trip.
Like most gear these days you can spend as much as you want and get a whole bunch of functions you may or may not ever use. It is definitely a tool that would make any trip safer and keep in mind these cameras do also work well in the daylight when visibility is poor. At the end of the day it’s a great tool to keep you safer on the water and is worth taking a look into.