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Old 03-03-2015, 12:21   #16
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

Check out West Marine's new catalog. They offer them.
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Old 03-03-2015, 13:17   #17
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

How 'bout an underwater camera on a
long pole?
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Old 03-03-2015, 15:59   #18
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

Depending on what you are trying to achieve, there may be some options out there. Here's a summary of a couple of trials I have done.
a) I have used a Hummingbird 898 sidescan sonar (costs well under $2k) to map the sea floor of our sailing club marina. It would not be ideal for permanent mounting on a boat as it is a torpedo-shaped thing about 1metre long and looks sideways across the boat, so you would have to mount it across the boat to get it to look forwards. It scans from vertical out to about 10 deg below horizontal. Resolution and range are probably adequate to pick up rocks in time to avoid them.
b) I have used
a Tritech Gemini 720i multi-beam sonar in a jetty-based experiment to identify lobster pot floats (it doesn't) . It operates at 720kHz with a 120 horizontal field of view and 20 vertical beam-width. The effective angular resolution is 0.5 which corresponds to approximately 10cm resolution at 10m range. It is an expensive piece of kit (about $30k). It would be quite easy to fit to a boat as the transducer is not very different from an ordinary depth sounder. Unfortunately it would not pick up any useful return from a lobster pot float or line. The pot itself could be detected at a range of 4m, but not identified as such. It could not be readily detected at a range of 7m.
If anyone knows an effective way of detecting lobster pot floats (low angle radar? infra-red range finder?), please let me know as we have serious problems of yacht entanglements with pots here on the west coast of Australia.
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Old 07-03-2015, 00:06   #19
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

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Originally Posted by clownfishsydney View Post
We have a forward scanning sonar, an Interphase Outlook. This can look forward or down like a normal depth sounder. It works well when tracking the bottom ahead.

I am not sure what you might want it for, some people I have seen want to know if it will pick up something like a floating container in the open ocean. I have no idea if it will and hope I never need to see if it does.
Hi clownishsydney. Yes a container or some other submerged problem. How far ahead does the interphase look?
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Old 07-03-2015, 00:11   #20
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

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Originally Posted by Kim Klaka View Post
Depending on what you are trying to achieve, there may be some options out there. Here's a summary of a couple of trials I have done.
a) I have used a Hummingbird 898 sidescan sonar (costs well under $2k) to map the sea floor of our sailing club marina. It would not be ideal for permanent mounting on a boat as it is a torpedo-shaped thing about 1metre long and looks sideways across the boat, so you would have to mount it across the boat to get it to look forwards. It scans from vertical out to about 10 deg below horizontal. Resolution and range are probably adequate to pick up rocks in time to avoid them.
b) I have used
a Tritech Gemini 720i multi-beam sonar in a jetty-based experiment to identify lobster pot floats (it doesn't) . It operates at 720kHz with a 120 horizontal field of view and 20 vertical beam-width. The effective angular resolution is 0.5 which corresponds to approximately 10cm resolution at 10m range. It is an expensive piece of kit (about $30k). It would be quite easy to fit to a boat as the transducer is not very different from an ordinary depth sounder. Unfortunately it would not pick up any useful return from a lobster pot float or line. The pot itself could be detected at a range of 4m, but not identified as such. It could not be readily detected at a range of 7m.
If anyone knows an effective way of detecting lobster pot floats (low angle radar? infra-red range finder?), please let me know as we have serious problems of yacht entanglements with pots here on the west coast of Australia.
I spoke today with the founder of a research mapping sonar manufacturer and we are going to talk further about making an advanced early warning forward looking solution. It helps I'm in electronic engineering. I'll let this thread know what develops if anything.
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Old 07-03-2015, 02:28   #21
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

Neither the inter phrase or echo pilot units will in my experience , ( I had echo pilot , friend had interphase)) detect anything semi submerged on the surface

They typically have 3-5 tines the depth of water as distance to look ahead , but detection just under the surface is problematic

I brought the system to my next boat but never installed it

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Old 07-03-2015, 08:27   #22
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

I had a friend who was on a sub and I asked him about this. He told me there systems have issues trying to pick out items close to the surface. Small boats on the surface don't even show up If there's any type of waves. I think forward facing sonar will be useful for when the bottom comes up fatter then the chart says it will our going where you'd don't have charts but I don't see debris floating on the surface viable.

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Old 07-03-2015, 08:36   #23
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

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Originally Posted by scuba0_1 View Post
I had a friend who was on a sub and I asked him about this. He told me there systems have issues trying to pick out items close to the surface. Small boats on the surface don't even show up If there's any type of waves. I think forward facing sonar will be useful for when the bottom comes up fatter then the chart says it will our going where you'd don't have charts but I don't see debris floating on the surface viable.

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Old 07-03-2015, 12:06   #24
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

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Originally Posted by Going Walkabout View Post
I'm wondering if there is a device that can be set to scan for objects forward of the boat and that has a reasonable range. I know submarines have such detection technology but I'm wondering if someone has made such a device perhaps based on sonar for pleasure boats.

Any thoughts or ideas on this would be very much appreciated.

Thanks,
Chaya
Hi Chaya,

A portion of your use case [watching for uncharted floating/partially submerged objects] can be augmented a couple of ways electronically:

One possibility may be forward scanning sonar as you inquired about. [However, the effectiveness has yet to be demonstrated for floating/partially submerged objects, e.g., containers...]

To that end, I've been watching for the impending release from Simrad of their new ForwardScan 'Sonar'.

Panbo discussed it when it was announced last spring. I just attended the Seattle Boat show and the manufacturer claims to be targeting a release this spring. Of course it is reliant on having one of the Navico chart plotting systems... [We standardized on B&G, hence why we are following the ForwardScan...]

Another aid we use now is 4G radar. It of course doesn't scan underwater, but it does pick-up an astounding amount of surface objects near the vessel, including many [but not all] floats for crab/shrimp pots. I haven't had a chance to test it on a partially submerged object that would be a 'challenge' to the boat yet [e.g., container] but suspect it would show an image at a reasonable warning range [e.g., 1/4 - 1/2 mile, or possibly more] based on our experience with it since spring 2014.

We have also seen it pick-up birds and low level aircraft if we are watching at the right moment... How can we tell? Fast moving objects leave an intermittent [dashed line] 'smoke trail' [vs. a solid one for a slower object...]

To help the naked eye of the person(s) on watch, we are also preparing to install high-intensity LED light bar(s) to show what is ahead in the water in the dark (not unlike the commercial fishing boats...) We will experiment with a cheaper unit to see how it works for us...

If we could afford it, we might also install a FLIR camera...

I hope this is helpful.
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Old 07-03-2015, 16:38   #25
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post
Hi Chaya,

A portion of your use case [watching for uncharted floating/partially submerged objects] can be augmented a couple of ways electronically:

One possibility may be forward scanning sonar as you inquired about. [However, the effectiveness has yet to be demonstrated for floating/partially submerged objects, e.g., containers...]

To that end, I've been watching for the impending release from Simrad of their new ForwardScan 'Sonar'.

Panbo discussed it when it was announced last spring. I just attended the Seattle Boat show and the manufacturer claims to be targeting a release this spring. Of course it is reliant on having one of the Navico chart plotting systems... [We standardized on B&G, hence why we are following the ForwardScan...]

Another aid we use now is 4G radar. It of course doesn't scan underwater, but it does pick-up an astounding amount of surface objects near the vessel, including many [but not all] floats for crab/shrimp pots. I haven't had a chance to test it on a partially submerged object that would be a 'challenge' to the boat yet [e.g., container] but suspect it would show an image at a reasonable warning range [e.g., 1/4 - 1/2 mile, or possibly more] based on our experience with it since spring 2014.

We have also seen it pick-up birds and low level aircraft if we are watching at the right moment... How can we tell? Fast moving objects leave an intermittent [dashed line] 'smoke trail' [vs. a solid one for a slower object...]

To help the naked eye of the person(s) on watch, we are also preparing to install high-intensity LED light bar(s) to show what is ahead in the water in the dark (not unlike the commercial fishing boats...) We will experiment with a cheaper unit to see how it works for us...

If we could afford it, we might also install a FLIR camera...

I hope this is helpful.
Bill,

Thanks. Your information is very helpful. I came across the Simrad Forward Scan doing some internet searching last night. It looks great. I found your advise about the radar really helpful as well. I'm glad it looks like two combined solutions that will work without me having to build my own.

On the radar do you know if you can have two screens attached to the same radar allowing one screen set for long distance and the other for say 1 mile and to set off an alarm when detecting a solid mass bobbing up and down in the water? I know that there would be problems with picking up waves but I wonder if the radar software is sophisticated enough to filter out waves from solid structures?

I think using the Sinead along with a well set up radar system would do the job. Maybe it will be radar that will be the best technology but I'm not sure if the software has been created to distinguish the way I am looking for.

Happy sailings and thanks again Bill.
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Old 07-03-2015, 18:15   #26
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

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The general feeling is that they just aren't ready for prime time yet. The technology is maturing,and I certainly don't falt anyone for having it already the systems just don't do a very good job. The big players in marine electronics are working pretty seriously at it right now and I expect new toys to come to market soon with better capabilities, but for now I wouldn't buy one. Honestly a better option for gunk holing would be a cheap wireless depth sounder mounted on a model boat.

See Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub: EchoPilot Platinum FLS, better than expected for a recent review of the technology.
+1. At this point in the techonoogy lifecycle these things are a distraction. Lots of fancy colors but it does not help you make any timely decision while underway, it onl distracts you. It is very useful for docking against Med-style "walls" though.

In addition, there is a significant performance penalty because the transducers "sticks out" below the hull a lot. We did a long "buddy boat" trip on two sisterships and one of them had a forward looking echosounder. It felt that the thing took a knot off boatspeed.
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Old 07-03-2015, 19:53   #27
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoingWalkabout View Post
Bill,

Thanks. Your information is very helpful. I came across the Simrad Forward Scan doing some internet searching last night. It looks great. I found your advise about the radar really helpful as well. I'm glad it looks like two combined solutions that will work without me having to build my own.

On the radar do you know if you can have two screens attached to the same radar allowing one screen set for long distance and the other for say 1 mile and to set off an alarm when detecting a solid mass bobbing up and down in the water? I know that there would be problems with picking up waves but I wonder if the radar software is sophisticated enough to filter out waves from solid structures?

I think using the Sinead along with a well set up radar system would do the job. Maybe it will be radar that will be the best technology but I'm not sure if the software has been created to distinguish the way I am looking for.

Happy sailings and thanks again Bill.
Hi Chaya,

The 4G radar [software] is capable of using two separate radar scanning ranges [each with their own 10 MARPA targets...] [See the 2nd pair of photos on this page...] Also see early Panbo article when 4G was first released.

We do set up 'intrusion' Guard zones [i.e., something entering the established zone; you can also monitor for something leaving the zone...] on our radar for close range detection and have pretty good success with it. e.g., We have detected floating logs- especially when a few birds are roosting on it... [We even use the Guard Zone function as supplemental anchor alarm when close to shore since you can customize the shape of the zone... The 4G uses so little power this is easily justified.]

Regarding sea state detection and filtering, we haven't been in anything larger than 2 meter confused and refracted swell since we installed it last year, and it handled that well. However, I was too busy steering to play with detecting any unidentified objects floating in that mess (it did display the only other vessel quite clearly...)

Independent of the radar capability, we also really enjoy having multiple screens [we use iPads] showing the 'master' plotter/radar screen. [Using the GoFree wireless system.] You don't have to take your eyes off of everything when those needs to go below deck during watch arise. And, if the guard zone alarm goes off when being used as an anchor alarm, I just pick up my iPhone and check the radar screen without getting out of my bunk to perform the initial assessment- and mute the alarm.

I hope this helps describe the versatility available for your given needs.

Cheers!
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Old 08-03-2015, 12:50   #28
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

Here's are links to the B&G forward looking sonar. US and UK pricing. Miles apart as usual. Rip of Britain. (Little rant now over). It seems to be finally available now after much delay and cheap as chips at $699. It looks promising. I'm not too sure I'm happy to have the thing drag through the water though. It pokes down a bit.

ForwardScan UK
ForwardScan US
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Old 08-03-2015, 13:44   #29
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

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Originally Posted by clownfishsydney View Post
We have a forward scanning sonar, an Interphase Outlook. This can look forward or down like a normal depth sounder. It works well when tracking the bottom ahead.

I am not sure what you might want it for, some people I have seen want to know if it will pick up something like a floating container in the open ocean. I have no idea if it will and hope I never need to see if it does.
Maybe you can help me. I know what I want it for and I am not sure if it will work. I have a boat with a huge rudder, almost as big as the keel that is a big one (2.30m). I have a problem with med harbors not with the keel (not a problem if it touch ground slowly) but while going backwards to the quay I have only the deep of the water on the zone near the frontal part of the hull and most of the time the bottom rises towards the quay so I never no if I have enough deep on the rudder (and touching with the rudder can be a problem).

What I would like to do with one of those forward deep readers was approaching the quay with the bow and read the deep of the bottom at the quay. It will work with precision on this situation? I am talking of taking a reading at a 10/15m distance off the quay.
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Old 08-03-2015, 14:00   #30
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Re: Forward pointing sonar devices for boats?

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What I would like to do with one of those forward deep readers was approaching the quay with the bow and read the deep of the bottom at the quay. It will work with precision on this situation? I am talking of taking a reading at a 10/15m distance off the quay.
I have sailed a lot on a boat that had an Interphase forward looking sonar unit and thought your intended use was the only useful application I could find for it.

Only caveat is that the distance to the wall should not be greater than 3-4 times water depth.. This may mean you have to get very close to the wall before turning back to do the stern-to maneuver. Why not install it in the stern?
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