Boat­works

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Reef points, oil leaks and trans­ducer dilem­mas

Q: I have a nice in-hull depth­sounder trans­ducer, and it works fine go­ing through the hull with­out the need for an out­side trans­ducer as­sem­bly. Do the new for­ward-sound­ing trans­duc­ers all re­quire an out­side-the-hull trans­ducer mount­ing, or can I use my cur­rent in-hull trans­ducer for for­ward sound­ing? M. Fos­ter, The Ba­hamas

GOR­DON WEST REPLIES

The for­ward-look­ing sounder uses a pro­pri­ety phased ar­ray trans­ducer el­e­ment, which mounts on the out­side of the hull. The cor­rect place­ment of the trans­ducer is crit­i­cal to its abil­ity to sound from straight down to slightly for­ward and thereby de­tect, say, a coral reef up ahead. These so­phis­ti­cated trans­duc­ers would not be able to com­pen­sate all the hull variations for in­side mount­ing, nor will a new for­ward-sound­ing sounder work off of the old trans­ducer you now have in­side the hull. That said, you should look at some of the sleek new trans­duc­ers out there, as well as their sleek hull blocks. Their small size might work fine out­side on the ex­te­rior of your boat’s hull. Work with a NMEA spe­cial­ist to find the right equip­ment to spot those ob­struc­tions ahead.

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