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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone

Does anyone have any recommendation for night vision equipment?

This would be for night passages to keep an eye out for unlit traffic, lobster pots, rogue containers etc.

I would also use it during approach into a harbor, mooring ball etc at night.

Is this a good idea? What Equipment have people used? What is recommended?

thank you in Advance

Andreas
 

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Well - i have to disagree with desert rat...
The usual stuff you get are all using the remaining light and amplifying it...
Good if you have some light like a full moon but not so good, if it is i.e. only cloudy...
The IR equipment works no matter how much light there is, during daylight even and the resolution and sensitivity of those has just become incredible in the last couple of years...
They fully automatic systems with warnings and whatnot were initially developed for commercial shipping to detect icebergs:
FLIR Systems | Thermal Imaging, Night Vision and Infrared Camera Systems
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Aren't there some obstacles the IR won't detect? For example lobster pots, containers, some bits of land. I guess it would detect boats? Even Sailboats with engines off?
 

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While I'm certain that night vision gear would be handy to have in reality it has limited application imo when it comes to general navigation. Unless you happen to be sailing through a known fish trap area one can hardly sit on deck scanning for those damned buoys all night.

Once sailing of the coast of Portugal I was astounded by the number of buoys. They were of course unlit and keeping an eye on them in daylight was hard enough, at night it would have been unwise to even think about sailing through that bunfight without some form of night vision aid.

Otoh, the NSW coast e.g. has in season lobster pots up and down its length but they are quite spread out. Realistically no small boat crew could hope to spot them all no matter how good your equipment.

Of course in some areas of the world and I'm thinking of SE Asia with its hoards of small, often unlit fishing boats you proceed at your own peril.
 

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I've used night vision a lot when boating in the dark (we could check them out where I worked for many years). They are pretty handy. I found an inflatable dinghy and outboard that had come untied at anchor once down off Grand Cayman, that was several miles down wind of us in the middle of the night using a pair.

Without the NVGs, I don't think we would have ever seen that dinghy again.
 

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Tdw - european waters - especially the med - are awful... To much of that stuff around, although there is nothing more left to fish...

Regarding the IR - the sensitivity is said to be around a temp difference of about 0.1 degrees... That should be enough to detect buoys, lobster pots and stuff... Anything else like small boats do show up on those displays like flashlights... ;)
But they can be blanketed like any other ray detection system...
I do have some (little) experience with IR systems and the best blanket is plants, well of course with leaves on... ;)
We could not see a guy standing behind a bush from 15 meters distance with a system the border police is using to observe the green borders, although he was clearly visible through all the gaps in between the leaves to the naked eye...

On the other hand - how many plants are out there on the sea? ;)
 

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If you are putting all your attention into looking through night vision glasses, I believe you could miss a lot of more important information. There is no way you are going to see a container, a log or even a sleeping whale at sea, unless you happen to be looking in exactly the right place at the right second, in a perfectly flat sea. It really is a waste of time to try. I believe most of us trust to our luck in these cases; it is a huge ocean and these objects are few and far between.
Onshore, where floating objects are more common, like fishing floats or logs in the PNW, the prudent mariner might not proceed at full speed in limited visibility, as many of these dangers are still not easily seen, even in good visibility.
The one modern innovation I find absolutely indispensable now, for navigation, are the stabilized binoculars. They are a huge improvement over conventional ones and facilitate identification of navigational aids, vessel lights and anything one might want to actually see clearly from a moving boat. They are smaller and lighter than conventional binoculars, therefor, instead of the common 7X35 marine binoculars, 10X 50 are quite usable on a small craft.
As wonderful as Hollywood makes the night vision glasses seem, I seriously doubt they would be very serviceable aboard a small craft, for navigation.
 

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Vimes TY the last time I looked at FLIR was a long time ago. I have used and repaired starlights. IR works but it used to be "expensive" for anything decent. I googled and the prices are competitive now. For 3 or 4 boat bucks you can get a decent night vision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Could the people who mentioned experience with the equipment let me know specifically what they where using?
I would like to read up on them...

thank you for all the answers so far.

A
 

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i have used them both extensivly at sea. there is a reason warships use both. if i were to pick one over the other, i have to say NVG for my area and what i do. others might find IR better suited to thier area. i know thats not much help, but i say ask around ur area and see what they use and maybe if u can go out and try it with them.

im soon (once my leg heals from being hit on my motorcycle and i can go test in open water) going to be doing an experiment that just may make NVG much more affodable for practical sailing distance and resolution, i will keep you guys posted if it works.
 

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The modern (fourth generation) equipment is really nice, the cheap stuff from overseas is, well, better than nothing but not even close. Of course for $2000-$8000 you can buy a couple of really great spotlights these days....and some good sunglasses to help your night vision. Some of the handheld LED "super" flashlights literally can start fires, there's been some great advances in that technology too.
 

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Just don't buy the older ones :)
 

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Best solution for crab and lobster pots is a line cutter on your prop shaft. Solves that problem, simply and cheaply.
 

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I'm with Capta .... we bought ourselves a pair of imaged stabilised Canons last year and while they are by no means top of the line (well under USD1000) the results are pretty damn good. Indeed while they are less than 17x50 (10x30 from memory) no one ever picks up the 17x50s anymore. Will upgrade to 18x50 some time soon.

It is said however that Imaged Stabilised are less effective in the dark than non IS. To be honest I've not noticed any great difference.

I'm still thinking that while nice to have night vision glasses are simply to much money to justify their existence.
 

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If you are putting all your attention into looking through night vision glasses, I believe you could miss a lot of more important information. There is no way you are going to see a container, a log or even a sleeping whale at sea, unless you happen to be looking in exactly the right place at the right second, in a perfectly flat sea. It really is a waste of time to try. I believe most of us trust to our luck in these cases; it is a huge ocean and these objects are few and far between.
Onshore, where floating objects are more common, like fishing floats or logs in the PNW, the prudent mariner might not proceed at full speed in limited visibility, as many of these dangers are still not easily seen, even in good visibility.
The one modern innovation I find absolutely indispensable now, for navigation, are the stabilized binoculars. They are a huge improvement over conventional ones and facilitate identification of navigational aids, vessel lights and anything one might want to actually see clearly from a moving boat. They are smaller and lighter than conventional binoculars, therefor, instead of the common 7X35 marine binoculars, 10X 50 are quite usable on a small craft.
As wonderful as Hollywood makes the night vision glasses seem, I seriously doubt they would be very serviceable aboard a small craft, for navigation.
The only time I have ever been air sick in my life, was after looking through some stabilized binoculars for 30 minutes while flying as a passenger in a small plane. I've used them on boats and they are nice when there is some sea on, but I've never wanted a pair of my own bad enough to buy them.
 
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