Forward Looking Sonar offers higher assurance in poorly chartered areas
While a good survey and a precise position has been the key to keeping boats safe and sound for centuries, there are times when this isn’t an option. Some places are still poorly charted and there are moving shoals which defy the efforts of hydrographers and harbour buoyage.
Forward Looking Sonars (FLS) are designed for navigation in cases such as this and offer insurance for your vessel against unseen obstacles, making difficult anchorages less stressful. Unlike simple digital sounders which may show a depth that is 10 to 15 seconds out of date, which could easily be hundreds of meters behind you when moving at speed, Daniamant’s FLS updates every 0.2 seconds to give real time information. If you are moving, this gives you a far more accurate representation of what is beneath your boat as an obstruction will appear almost immediately on the screen, allowing you to react quickly to avoid collision.
The Danish marine safety equipment manufacturer’s EchoPilot FLS 2D (priced from €1,219.00) is a single display product which can be installed via a swivel bracket or directly into your dashboard. The seven-inch full colour TFT LCD display enables you to gain much more information about the nature of the seabed, whilst also being more visually pleasing. Stronger echoes produce colours at the red end of the spectrum, indicating a hard seabed such as rock which you want to avoid, whereas weaker echoes received from softer materials such as sand or mud are shown as colours at the yellow end of the spectrum. The different fields or types of information are shown in contrasting colours, enabling the navigator to digest information much faster.
The culmination of more than 18 years of research and manufacturing of FLS, the EchoPilot FLS 2D comes in three variations: the FLS 2D Standard, the FLS 2D Professional and the FLS 2D Repeater.
Alternatively, the EchoPilot FLS Platinum Engine (priced from €1,575.00) is a “Black Box” unit with NMEA 0183 Version 2.0 which enables any chartplotter, multifunction display or PC with a video input to become a fully functional 2D colour FLS. A third-party GPS can also be installed on the EchoPilot FLS Platinum Engine to achieve GPS co-ordinates on your display.
By Jake Frith
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