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Old 27-04-2013, 20:58   #1
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forward looking sonar/sounders

Does anyone have one of these fitted? What make fitted? and do they help much or just a gimmick?
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Old 27-04-2013, 21:41   #2
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Re: forward looking sonar/sounders

I would love to know this myself!! We are ready to add a sounder also and would love a forward looking one ! if they work !!
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Old 27-04-2013, 22:10   #3
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Re: forward looking sonar/sounders

I had an Interphase forward looking sonar on my previous boat. The problem that I had with it was the shallower the water, the less "forward looking" it became. That was kind of a problem because that's usually when I most needed it. In the shallow waters of Florida and the Bahamas, it became just an expensive depth sounder.

The best investment I've made in a depth sounder is the 100 bucks I spent on a handheld one. I use it for charting shallow routes and anchorages from my dinghy.
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Old 27-04-2013, 23:59   #4
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Re: forward looking sonar/sounders

I saw a boat recently that had forward looking sonar fitted AND had just had extensive, and I mean extensive, structural repairs as a result of colliding with a reef. I would draw the conclusion that perhaps they are not reliable all the time and can lead to false confidence when navigating skinny waters.
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Old 28-04-2013, 02:35   #5
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Re: forward looking sonar/sounders

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kashmir cat View Post
I had an Interphase forward looking sonar on my previous boat. The problem that I had with it was the shallower the water, the less "forward looking" it became. That was kind of a problem because that's usually when I most needed it. In the shallow waters of Florida and the Bahamas, it became just an expensive depth sounder.

The best investment I've made in a depth sounder is the 100 bucks I spent on a handheld one. I use it for charting shallow routes and anchorages from my dinghy.
+1

That's also my experience.

I have almost never had any useful information from mine. I use it as a redundant source of depth data.

It is quite cool that you can see the chain underwater from the Poole chain ferry.

But other than that, it gives unhelpful gibberish. The bottom always slopes down unless you are about to run into a seawall.

I am absolutely sure that this technology will improve. I would wait until then if I were you.
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Old 28-04-2013, 04:48   #6
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Re: forward looking sonar/sounders

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, bobmac10.
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Old 28-04-2013, 05:07   #7
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Re: forward looking sonar/sounders

I typed a whole response for this and it died on the way to post. So if there eventually ends up to be two posts I apologise. We have the Echo Pilot and I find it very useful. I compared on other boats between the Echo Pilot and the Interphase and found the Echo Pilot very much superior. It still decreases range with depth but that is physics. However if you are going slow it gives you ample time to weave your way into an anchorage. It is still just a tool and one more you need to use. It is not perfect. I like to watch the trends and you can quickly see if there is something in the way ahead in order to stop or turn. I do not think it is good enough to miss a container or a reef at full speed. I alos like the fact you can change the transducer in the water as it is deployed through a thru hull fitting. We had two lightning strikes and had to replace the transducer the rest of the electronics on one of those. Echo Pilot took our old electronics and fixed them at minimal charge so we now have a full set of spares. They couldn't fix the transducer but we ordered a spare.

I don't work for these guys nor am I affiliated but they have a pretty good product and we have tested it in some areas where the charts are not so good i.e. the PI and Palau and other areas like INdonesia, Malaysia and Thailand where there were some doubts.

Cheers

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Old 28-04-2013, 10:29   #8
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Re: forward looking sonar/sounders

We have a Interphase Color Twin Forward Looking Sonar and wouldn't leave home without it!

ALL Sonars are effected by depth... Remeber these are receational sonars, not USN spec'd high output sonars! Ours works on about a 7 to 1 ratio, meaning if you are in 10 feet of water, it will look about 70 feet ahead of the boat.

Like radars, many people who don't understand them will knock the technology... These require practice and knowledge. You just can't turn them on like a depth sounder, you have to understand how to interpret the data displayed. When you can interpret this data, they become invaluable, especially when traveling in shallow areas like the ICW and the Caribbean.

Last year, Interphase was purchased by Garmin. At the time Interphase was the only manufacture of recreational in America.

At the Miami Boat Show, Garmin promised the company would remain intact, but Garmin would incorporate the Interphase technology into their Chart Plotters... They also mentioned that in 2013, Interphase would be releasing a new recreational technology similar to what Interphase has already developed and is currently in use aaboard submarines.

I guess it is wait and see.



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Old 28-04-2013, 10:38   #9
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Re: forward looking sonar/sounders

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It still decreases range with depth but that is physics.
More like geometry. Sorry, couldn't help it.
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Old 28-04-2013, 10:55   #10
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Re: forward looking sonar/sounders

I have a Interphase unit and find it useful only when going slow in a narrow channel. However, if you are travelling at normal speed (say 5kt), the relatively short forward range of the unit does not give adequate time to make an adjustment in course to avoid a problem. As a result, my unit stays off 99.9% of the time. I did not buy the unit. (It came with the boat.) If my current unit fails, it will not be replaced.
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Old 28-04-2013, 16:58   #11
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Re: forward looking sonar/sounders

FWIW, I have posted at length about this here on CF in the past. I'm not wanting to do so yet again, so if you are interested, try the search function.

But in short, I have had an Interphase Probe for the past 17 years and find them very valuable in our sort of cruising. They do require learning to interpret what you see on the screen, and they do have situations where the constraints of physics restrict their usefulness.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 28-04-2013, 17:18   #12
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I had an Echopilot ( silver ). Wouldn't rate it much. It saw approx 5 times the depth ahead , so in 10 feet you got about a boat length. !!! . There are all too simplistic IMHO

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Old 28-04-2013, 17:40   #13
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Re: forward looking sonar/sounders

I have an Interphase SE 200C, and I've installed several on other folk's boats. All of us are ecstatic about it. Inside the San Diego Bay, with depths of about 20 feet, the range is a hundred feet. Outside in deep water, range increases to 1000+. Though I have used the multifunction display for it, I purchased the forward scanner display so it could operate all the time without having to include it in other displays. Default mode for it is the vertical aspect, which shows what's ahead and below (to about 300 feet). If the alarm goes off (when set), I can switch immediately to horizontal mode to see if it's a single target or a wider ranging reef structure, then figure out the escape route. Here are some pics of the twin transducers, providing an image of everything forward of the beam. The other transducer is for my fishfinder. Transducers are the size of a grapefruit.
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