Thermal imagers provide an "early warning system" against many common maritime hazards, night and day, in good weather and bad, and help mariners sail with confidence all night long.
Without the help of thermal imaging, the sea can be a dangerous place, especially at night or in bad weather. Vessels can run aground, ram other vessels, or collide with floating debris resulting in heavy damages or worse. Professional mariners can't call it a day when the weather turns sour – they have to stick it out if they're to feed their families.
Thermal imagers allow us to see this invisible heat radiation, making them effective security tools in maritime environments. They detect myriad potential maritime hazards, like debris floating in the water, vessels under way or riding at anchor, shipping lane traffic, small boats crossing shipping channels, buoys, and structures like bridge abutments and docks or piers. Maritime thermal imagers even help mariners see and avoid icebergs and surfacing whales.
Although there are other technologies available that can help you see at night, thermal imaging technology outperforms them, and has some demonstrable advantages over each.
Thermal images from FLIR infrared cameras of two men in a small watercraft (left), and awaiting rescue after going overboard (right).