I have had some inquiries about this Night Vision Scope system and responded to them but thought maybe I should share some of it with everybody since this type of equipment is a bit of an investment.
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The whole package originally cost me over $2,000 back before I went on my Caribbean
adventure. But back then I was healthy, happy and ready to go so I splurged and subsequently was very glad I did. The whole night vision system came in very handy and saved a few local island fishermen in their unlit pangas/rowboats from getting run down by my vessel.
You can currently buy "Generation 1" night vision equipment for about $200-$300 but you are getting 1990's or so technology most probably with old surplus Russian night vision tubes. The amount of light amplification generated by "Generation 1" systems is very inferior to "Generation 3" systems. In other words, the brightness and ability to "see" in the dark is dramatically different between the generations.
The "Generation 3" is the currently latest technology I can find that is available and the light amplification abilities are a magnitude better and that makes a significant difference in your desire to use the equipment. This is a "Generation 3" unit.
"Generation 3" scopes are now available and advertised for about $2895.00 for just the scope without the accessories.
So I am letting this unit go for about one fifth (~20%) of that. And also the accessories for about the same discount. So the prices I listed on C.F. (and only for C.F. members) are the lowest I can justify - $445 + $250 = $695 for the whole package. Still about 20% of the currently advertised prices for a "new" package of Generation 3 Night Vision monocular scopes.
Bottom line: Is this stuff "necessary?" - I would say "no" so long as your cruising does NOT involve night time entering or leaving anchorages/harbors in 3rd-World countries or operation in waters with native fishermen in their unlighted "rowboats." Or, if you have and know how to use a very good radar
system to detect all the unlit small and other vessels - and - broken or absent navigational markers that are supposed to be equipped with lights.
I purchased the stuff because I had the resources and the desire to not be limited to daytime only "inshore" operation. And I am seriously glad I got the stuff, took the time to learn how to use it, and then did use it as I described above.
I would suggest it is a piece of "safety equipment" that allowed me to cruise
at night without some potentially serious (even deadly) encounters. But like all "safety" stuff, if you don't use it - what value is it? I personally don't like being restricted in how I cruise
, so I used the stuff. Especially since I am not very good at planing my arrivals to daylight hours and also I like to take "short-cuts" through "in-shore" areas around some islands being as I am normally "running-late" on my arrival estimates.
So this equipment is only useful - if you use it - and if you want an extra margin of safety
when operating/cruising in places where there are vessels without lights or navigational markers that are only for daytime use if they even exist. You can "see" surf, rocks, shorelines, boats, and lots of other stuff when using a Night Vision Scope that simply you cannot see otherwise.