NV for sailboat use?

#1
Hello, I was asked about the 3 to 5 hundred dollar units on Amazon by a family member wanting to get dad a present for his new to him 26 or 28' sailboat. He's planning on doing some trips up and down the east coast.
Having heard smes talk on the modcast my first thought was that the Amazon units are a bad idea.
Anyone have any advice? Maybe just a big assed flash light would be more practical.

They are not excited about a $1000 unit. Maybe there is a good option with a "gen 2+" monocular and an ir drop in for one of my old surefire 6ps?

If this is too far outside the purpose of P&S I understand.

Thanks for your time to the responders.
 
#3
I'm not a sailor.. Concept of use in my mind is navigating in the dark. Currently the boat is kept moored in a pretty populated harbor in the Bronx. Getting back to his mooring, seeing and avoiding navigational beacons/hazards. And on longer trips just to augment his vision when the moon is not out (units might not be capable of showing landmarks at certain distances though).
 
#4
No as yet (but maybe pretty soon) for the few hundred dollar units for any purpose.

1000% no to them for sailing, as none are remotely waterproof enough.

I'd be happy to rant more about NODs for this, but would certainly instead myself look into the remotely operated balls with night vision and thermal, and try to mount it up a tidge so it clears spray and all other clutter. They have some down in the $5,000 range that are entirely outdoor rated, are rugged enough for at least inshore/near shore sailing.

Thermal would be much more used than image intensifying I'd think. Contrast of stuff off the water is super helpful to see obstacles and other vessels, see the waterway. Night vision can be too easily obscured by weather conditions, clutter, and blown out by lights. The lower generation and the CCD units, especially will become blown out by onshore lights, etc.
 
#6
I'm not a sailor.. Concept of use in my mind is navigating in the dark. Currently the boat is kept moored in a pretty populated harbor in the Bronx. Getting back to his mooring, seeing and avoiding navigational beacons/hazards. And on longer trips just to augment his vision when the moon is not out (units might not be capable of showing landmarks at certain distances though).
If it is moored in a busy/ populated place then you could have issues with ambient light.
 
#7
Been a tidge since I researched for other sail friends so no links at hand, but there are some not-FLIR-brand balls that have good ratings, run around half the price. Check them out.

And, there are secondary things your sail friends may want to shop for. A well-electronicified boat will have a single data bus, and be able to put all data on all screens. So, they may want a boat-specific FLIR (IF they go for that much money) so they can integrate it vs having a dedicated screen, get the azimuth data to synch instead of just manually pointing it, etc. etc.

I have no idea if FLIR makes boating-compliant balls. May also look at Garmin as they make radars for sure, are big into integrated systems, so may resell some unit that can lead down the right path to find the same thing, cheaper.
 

BassFlats&Beyond

Member
Network Support I
#8
Finally I get to speak from a professional standpoint as this is my lane. Im a professional captain in south Florida. For a boat that size, Radar and FLIR are your best options. Radar will pick up 98% of stuff you need to see in 0 visibility, FLIR doesn’t work so great at distance, or in heavy fog, but will show you that log floating 2 inches under the water.
 
#9
Thanks gents. This is his first real boat, and from conversations with him he sees it as trainer. Maybe on his retirement boat well get him set up with an integrated system. I don't think his boat has much for electronics and screens. Sounds like it'd be ideal to buy a boat set up with radar and flir already installed.

I'll be telling my family the monacles will have limited usability, and should be considered a toy to play with rather than a tool to rely on.
 
#10
Finally I get to speak from a professional standpoint... FLIR doesn’t work so great at distance, or in heavy fog, but will show you that log floating 2 inches under the water.
Since thermal hadn't been brought up, I went light, but: know your frequencies. FLIR especially love to sell everyone MWIR systems, at 3-5μm. But to me, LWIR, at 7-14μm is the only way to fly. I have personally experienced exactly ONE fog that it wouldn't penetrate (I have video as it was so weird!), and it generally provides better long range performance, better humid air performance, and so on.

So, whatever thermal purchase you are making, know your bands!
 

BassFlats&Beyond

Member
Network Support I
#11
Thanks gents. This is his first real boat, and from conversations with him he sees it as trainer. Maybe on his retirement boat well get him set up with an integrated system. I don't think his boat has much for electronics and screens. Sounds like it'd be ideal to buy a boat set up with radar and flir already installed.

I'll be telling my family the monacles will have limited usability, and should be considered a toy to play with rather than a tool to rely on.
First off, if he’s on a tight budget a boat might not be for him. Once something breaks, and it will, they tend to sit and deprecate and never get fixed. There’s a reason it’s called a BOAT (bust out another thousand)

Secondly if it’s just a day boat then a good gps is all you need. It you want to travel or make long crossings, you need a spotlight and radar. Radar really isn’t that expensive. You can get set up with a gps unit and a radome for around 4K. FLIR is nice to have but not completey necessary unless he really wants to travel.

Electronics are the best thing to upgrade as funds allow. 5-10k is a pretty good middle of the road electrics package that will get you Garmin units, a dome radar, sonar, and autopilot.
 
#12
Wow I had no idea they did auto pilot for sailboats. Yeah I'm sure hell be figuring all that stuff out in the next 2 years or so. At this point it's just what he's expressed interest in, while learning how to handle the boat alone, getting into yacht club races, etc.
 

BassFlats&Beyond

Member
Network Support I
#13
It’s funny you posted this because im considering so type of head mounted NVGs for running the inter coastal in a small skiff with no go way of installing dedicated FLIR.
 
#14
Not having experience with coastal sailing, but long time owner and user of Night Vision, night vision is best for seeing in the dark when you don't want other people to see you back. The modern, digital night vision that uses active IR illumination is a much cheaper cheaper alternative but a good is probably the most cost effective and useful option.

Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk
 
#15
Clearly, BassFlats&Beyond needs a FLIR ball on top of his helmet. It's the only option as I see it.

Any night vision that requires illum is not gonna be real useful at sea navigation distances. Or maybe not even from one end of the boat to the other.
 
#16
Absolutely. I DO have a ton of experience with helmet mounted PVS-14's and navigating a relatively small lake I have 30 years experience boating in. It's great for sneaking up on teenagers and ruining their night...you can get around fairly easily during a full moon if you know where the rocks and buoys are. But I've still had some uncomfortable close calls, and I would definitely not want to have to rely on passive NVG for coastal navigation in unfamiliar waters. Spotlight for cheap, FLIR for expensive but helmet mounted nods wouldn't be on my short list.

Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk