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Old 02-09-2014, 14:50   #1
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Forward Looking Sonar

My wife is somewhat concerned about hitting a "lost overboard" container. To some extent I have alleviated her concerns by promising to fit a "forward scanning" sonar. Does anyone have any recommendations I run a
5000 series Garmin GPS/Chartplotter..
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Old 02-09-2014, 14:53   #2
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re: Forward Looking Sonar

Maybe one of those fake security cameras. Just glue it to the deck and tell her an alarm will go off... Little white lie...
Sorry I can't be if any real assistance...sounds lime a good idea though.
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Old 02-09-2014, 14:56   #3
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re: Forward Looking Sonar

I don't know, haven't seen one in action, but how does the forward scanning sonar see a container on the surface through the trough of a wave?
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Old 02-09-2014, 15:23   #4
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re: Forward Looking Sonar

Quote:
Originally Posted by monte View Post
Maybe one of those fake security cameras. Just glue it to the deck and tell her an alarm will go off... Little white lie...
Sorry I can't be if any real assistance...sounds lime a good idea though.
Lime ALWAYS sounds like a good idea Monte...

Just tell her you're a really safe driver and you promise not to hit any containers... dogs... kitties... squirrels... or small children/the elderly...

The end result will be the same ...
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Old 02-09-2014, 15:39   #5
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re: Forward Looking Sonar

I have an Echopilot FLS. It's very good for work around coral heads, and steeply shelving bottoms structure.

For spotting shipping containers at sea it would be pretty much useless, unless it was EXTREMELY calm. Flat calm. Like glass.

But then the problem would be the near certainty that out in deep water you simply wouldn't be looking at the FLS.

In fact I only switch ours on when we're getting into shallower waters.
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Old 02-09-2014, 15:58   #6
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re: Forward Looking Sonar

I agree with what cruising cat says.

All I can say is her fear of containers is misplaced. They are just not out there!

There is nothing you can do with your wifes irrational fears - or your own irrational fears for that matter.

You or she will hate cruising at your own volition and theres nothing we can do about it.


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Old 02-09-2014, 18:37   #7
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re: Forward Looking Sonar

[QUOTE=44'cruisingcat;1619505]I have an Echopilot FLS. It's very good for work around coral heads, and steeply shelving bottoms structure.

For spotting shipping containers at sea it would be pretty much useless, unless it was EXTREMELY calm. Flat calm. Like glass.

But then the problem would be the near certainty that out in deep water you simply wouldn't be looking at the FLS.

Echopilot FSL does scan in range from vertical down to horizontal forward. It does "look forward" about Two to four times the depth of the water (when depth range is set to 6m it will show 24m forward). I'm on pole mooring and wooden boat before me is detected and shown as group of dots near the surface of water. Metal container will give better results.
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Old 02-09-2014, 18:42   #8
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re: Forward Looking Sonar

Also good for spotting enemy submarines.
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Old 02-09-2014, 18:46   #9
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re: Forward Looking Sonar

The problem is as said, in dead flat calm the forward sonar might detect a container but at sea with the boat pitching up and down and wave peaks and troughs the odds of detecting a container are slim to none. If one did show on the sonar it would be about 2 seconds before you hit it.

The question has been covered in great depth in a few previous discussions on this forum. Do a quick search if you want to read more, including reports from several owners with significant experience with various brands and models.
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Old 02-09-2014, 19:00   #10
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re: Forward Looking Sonar

Under "any" recommendations...

You can reinforce the bow. If the interior is accessible, you can lay in extra layers of high-strength reinforcement. Followed by integral hull tankage, a sealed water tank or other tank that again reinforces the force and provides a watertight compartment.

There's also been serious talk, especially in racing circles, about mandating a forward watertight bulkhead on the boat, typically where the bulkhead for your forepeak already is.

But unless you want to kidnap a sharp-eyed teenager and lash them where the figurehead normally goes...there's nothing that competes with a Mark I Eyeball for that job yet.
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Old 02-09-2014, 19:35   #11
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re: Forward Looking Sonar

I have/had in Interphase Probe. Used it for years, and once used to it thought it was great! However, not really for what you asked, even though on max range (210m) fwd, when rough, if left looking forward only, the alarm would sound very often if there were whitecaps.
Eventually, after a lot of miles (30,000 + ) it was destroyed, ironically by hitting a submerged log off Borneo - wrecked the transducer.
The Probe is no longer available. Interphase was bought (by Garmin I think?) and the product discontinued. They now do a fancier one, about 5 x the price!

In all my sailing life (nearly 50 years, and a lot of miles) I've only ever seen one container floating. WAY WAY more other stuff - trees, logs, FADs etc....

Good Luck, don't let it put you off. Heaps more Yachts sink because of hitting charted rocks than floating objects
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Old 03-09-2014, 00:42   #12
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re: Forward Looking Sonar

[QUOTE=cszosler;1619645]
Quote:
Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
I have an Echopilot FLS. It's very good for work around coral heads, and steeply shelving bottoms structure.

For spotting shipping containers at sea it would be pretty much useless, unless it was EXTREMELY calm. Flat calm. Like glass.

But then the problem would be the near certainty that out in deep water you simply wouldn't be looking at the FLS.

Echopilot FSL does scan in range from vertical down to horizontal forward. It does "look forward" about Two to four times the depth of the water (when depth range is set to 6m it will show 24m forward). I'm on pole mooring and wooden boat before me is detected and shown as group of dots near the surface of water. Metal container will give better results.

As I said, only in flat calm conditions. Throw in a few waves, and the sonar is going to be showing surface returns from them, it would be pretty hard to pick out a container in the clutter.

If you were to set an alarm at say 3m, it would be going off constantly. So you couldn't have the alarm on, and are you going to sit staring at the sonar screen all the way across an ocean?
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Old 03-09-2014, 02:22   #13
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re: Forward Looking Sonar

This seems at this point to be a question about acceptable risk. Although many containers fall off ships in bad weather every year, few cruisers have been sunk by same. It must be that some of them sink, and many of them are not on sailboat routes. It can be a conscious choice how much you let it bother you....whether it's really your wife, or you who is worried.

FWIW, where I am at is that this particular one is a rare risk, so I don't worry about it.
Could sink us, despite watertight bulkheads, but on the injury worry scale, incapacitating risk is higher.

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Old 03-09-2014, 03:08   #14
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re: Forward Looking Sonar

A crows nest for daytime and hove-to at night. We have forward sonar but would be useless at sea.

I've heard more people hit whales than containers. Definitely see more.
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Old 26-09-2014, 10:55   #15
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re: Forward Looking Sonar

Quote:
Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
I have an Echopilot FLS. It's very good for work around coral heads, and steeply shelving bottoms structure.

For spotting shipping containers at sea it would be pretty much useless, unless it was EXTREMELY calm. Flat calm. Like glass.

But then the problem would be the near certainty that out in deep water you simply wouldn't be looking at the FLS.

In fact I only switch ours on when we're getting into shallower waters.

Hey Cruisincat. I've been looking at the Echopilot FLS. Which model do you have, and what has your experience with in been to date, and is it a "nice to have" or "can't live without it" equipment?


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