Features April 2011 Issue

New-gen Night Vision for Mariners

FLIR’s First Mate thermal-imaging camera shines in field tests.

The FLIR First Mate is a lightweight, easy-to-hold thermal-imaging monocular that allows users to “see in the dark” by reading temperature differences and displaying the infrared images in a digital viewfinder. Although its price tag keeps it from being a must-have navigation tool, the First Mate has real value as a man-overboard recovery aid. PS testers put the First Mate through its paces with a set of discernment tests on the water. Testers used the First Mate to spot crab pots, unlit beacons, unlit nuns, other boats, the shoreline, and a volunteer “man-overboard.” Setting the FLIR in the “white” hot mode, testers went about their infrared treasure hunt, ranking how well certain objects, all unseen by the naked eye, showed up with FLIR's thermal night vision.

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