Thermal imaging cameras: a new tool for securing marinas

Providing secure facilities, and keeping marinas a safe environment, should be a basic responsibility of marina management.

Protection can be achieved through a combination of security policies, controlled access, observation and user awareness. Although it has not reached epidemic proportions yet, crime is a growing threat to recreational boating. Modern boats are equipped with state-of-the-art electronic systems for navigation and other items. They often also have a state-of-the-art video and sound systems, jet-skis and a lot of other expensive equipment that any robber would love to steal on board.

Marina crime prevention, just like home or business crime prevention, is a matter of detecting potential risks and eliminating them. Most crimes occur when criminals find a safe and easy opportunity to strike. Most of the time, this happens in full darkness, under cover of the night.

Continuously, fully lighting up a marina during night-time is not always the best solution. Installing supplementary lighting is often expensive. Powering and maintaining it can be very costly. In some sensitive locations it is also considered too intrusive. Furthermore, lighting essentially lays out a route of attack for intruders, creating shadows in which they can hide and gain access undetected.

Thermal imaging: an effective solution to see in total darkness, in all kinds of weather conditions

Making sure that the port is a secure area and that not only the passengers but also the vessels and their cargo are safe, is one of the task of the "The Calais Chamber of Commerce and Industry" which is the concessionary of the Port of Calais.

Being the major port between mainland Europe and the UK, a lot of people try to use the Port of Calais to enter the UK illegally. "We are trying to prevent that these people access one of the ferries that daily go to the UK. Not only because it is illegal to do so, but also because when they are trying to do this, they often bring themselves into great danger and can be killed in an accident. A harbor where giant ferries are going in and out on a continuous basis is a dangerous place to be swimming or floating around in a small rubber boat, particularly at night", explains Mr. Couret. But what during the night time and in light fog, rain or snow when CCTV cameras can not provide a clear image?

FLIR thermal cameras detect intruders coming from the water  
Even at night, burglars can't hide their heat energy from FLIR cameras  

Detecting threats, in total darkness, up to several kilometers away, is an easy task for thermal imaging cameras.

A perfect solution for monitoring a marina during night time, but also during other parts of the day, is thermal imaging. Thermal imaging is the use of a thermal imaging camera to "see" thermal energy emitted from an object. Thermal, or infrared energy, is light that is not visible to the human eye because its wavelength is too long to be detected. It's the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we perceive as heat. Thermal imaging cameras produce images of invisible infrared or "heat" radiation. Based on temperature differences between objects, thermal imaging produces a clear image.

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