Advertisement

FLIR Ocean Scout 320 Thermal Imager

Improve your visibility while boating at night with a thermal imager.

July 27, 2015
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
FLIR Thermal Imaging
FLIR Ocean Scout 320 Thermal Imager FLIR Ocean Scout 320 Thermal Imager

I always wanted a thermal imager on my 22-footer, so I asked a captain of a 95-foot sport-fishing boat what kind of fixed-mount thermal imager he recommends for cruising at night. “One with a stabilizer,” he said. “The image of a nonstabilized unit bounces around too much.”

“The smaller the boat, the more it bounces, so unless you want to buck up for a stabilized unit, you’re better off with a handheld,” he added.

That led me to FLIR’s new Ocean Scout 320 handheld model, which features a 320-by-240 high-resolution LCD display for outstanding clarity, even in total darkness, with the ability to detect the heat signature of a human target at 600 yards and a small boat at a mile away.

Advertisement
FLIR 320
FLIR Ocean Scout 320 Thermal Imager FLIR Ocean Scout 320 Thermal Imager

Fixed-Mount Handheld
The handheld FLIR Ocean Scout 320 can also serve as a fixed-mount thermal imager, thanks to a camera-mount receiver and a live-video output cable (included), which you can connect to a multifunction display (MFD) from marine electronics makers Furuno, Garmin, Lowrance, Raymarine or Simrad.

I used a RAM mounting system with rail- and camera-base adapters ($36.45, rammount.com) to install the 320 at about eye level beside the helm and then plugged the mini-USB/video adapter cable into the unit and added a 3-foot RCA male-to-male cable ($1.60, smart​home.com) to reach the helm. I also needed a video adapter cable ($49.99, store.navico.com) to plug into a Lowrance HDS-12 Gen2 Touch MFD.

Once it was set up, I selected the video ­window in the menu to view the thermal image on screen. Very cool feature, especially for a small boat. With a landscape format, it looks great using a full-screen view.

Advertisement

There are two caveats: It works best in calm seas, because the image has a seasickness-inducing bounce in rough water, and the 320 performs an auto-shutdown every five minutes to save battery power but gives you a 30-second on-screen warning. Touch the “on” button to deactivate shutdown.

Advertisement

More Gear

Advertisement
Advertisement