Avoid ob­struc­tions and find fish. Marine ther­mal-imag­ing sys­tems such as those from FLIR and Iris en­hance nav­i­ga­tional safety at night by en­abling boaters to see ob­struc­tions such as lob­ster­pot buoys, float­ing de­bris and other un­lit, low-ly­ing ob­jects tha

Boating - - FEATURES -

Ther­mal-imag­ing in­sights Con­nect­ing old with new

Ther­mal cam­eras de­tect minute dif­fer­ences in in­frared ra­di­a­tion so that even float­ing tim­ber shows up clearly in com­plete dark­ness. Both FLIR and Iris of­fer hand­held ther­mal scopes and fixed-mount cam­eras that net­work with mul­ti­func­tion dis­plays.

This tech­nol­ogy can also help you find fish. With ther­mal imag­ing, for ex­am­ple, you can see weed lines and kelp pad­dies on the ocean at night, says Lou Rota, vice pres­i­dent of world­wide sales for FLIR Mar­itime. Such float­ing veg­e­ta­tion, which at­tracts off­shore fish, pos­sesses minute heat dif­fer­ences that ther­mal imag­ing can de­tect.

Ther­mal-imag­ing cam­eras are also sen­si­tive enough to see tem­per­a­ture breaks — ar­eas that tend to at­tract schools of bait­fish and preda­tors. As long as the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture changes rapidly within a few me­ters, ther­mal imag­ing can de­tect the dif­fer­ence.

Ther­mal cam­eras can also see fish at night. “We’ve had a lot of peo­ple say­ing that they’ve hooked tuna af­ter find­ing break­ing fish be­fore day­light by us­ing a thermalimaging cam­era,” says Rota. “Many an­glers also tell us that they can spot schools of bait­fish dim­pling the sur­face in the dark.

“Schools of fish change the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the wa­ter’s sur­face, and that’s what you can see with ther­mal imag­ing,” he ex­plains.

Most boat­ing an­glers use an in­stalled cam­era for spot­ting fish on the sur­face. “With the FLIR sys­tems, the best set­ting for this pur­pose is Night Run­ning with the im­age for­mat set to Black Hot,” Rota re­veals.

Black Hot shows warmer ob­jects in darker shades ver­sus the tra­di­tional White Hot ther­mal im­age, which turns warmer ob­jects a lighter shade.

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