Flir thermal camera image of a busy harbor in the middle of the night.

Flir thermal camera image of a busy harbor in the middle of the night.


When Fir was operational she had 75 sailors keeping an eye on various systems and developing conditions. In order to reduce our crew demands, we need to use cameras so that the Wheelhouse can evaluate any given situation. There are multiple camera options available. Initial distinctions include resolution, aim, and zoom capabilities.  PTZ cameras offer the ability to remotely pan, tilt, and zoom.

Thermal Cameras

Thermal cameras capture the infrared light spectrum identifying differences in temperature.  In total darkness infrared cameras are able to distinguish structures and objects such as boats, bridges, docks, and people.

We would like to add a fixed thermal camera to the front mast.  Our goal is to gain a general awareness of what lies ahead and what should be avoided. Fir has no intention to sneak into harbors in the middle of the night, therefore control and resolution are not terribly important.   We would also like to add a thermal camera to the rear mast to manage the security risk of being approached by pirates from behind.  A thermal camera on the rear mast will also aid in docking after dark where a view of the aft is necessary.  A PTZ (Pan,Tilt, Zoom) thermal camera on the rear mast would be the best choice for our needs.  In addition, both cameras need to be gyro stabilized for a steady view in heavy seas. 

There are two major manufactures of thermal cameras: Flir and Iris.  Flir is an established US defense contractor and innovator in the industry. Iris is a UK company with production out of Houston. 

For fixed units, we are looking at the Flir ____ and the Iris 290G Nightrunner Solo.  

For the aft mast, we are considering the Flir ___ and the Iris 390 Nightrunner Solo.

Other Cameras

Cameras are either analogue or IP.  We have chosen to go with IP cameras because they offer superior resolution and are easily incorporated into our computer and networking system. 

From an operational perspective, we need several cameras in the engine room.   Cameras on the anchors are also necessary.  From a security perspective, we want cameras to display the passageways and open decks.