Underwater Video Cameras
The latest toy or the device that gives you a better view of what is going on with your Props and Stabilizers.
When you think about it, aren't you always wondering what is going on under your boat? We sometimes want to know where the anchor is, or did we hit something, or where our fishing line might be, or, just what kind of fish do we really have on the end of the line. The list goes on and on. A number of years ago I bought a portable video camera, one with a long cable that I could hang over the side of the boat to check for tangled lines or look to see if anything was growing on the bottom of my boat. After a short time I found myself looking for other things such as checking my zincs, my rudder, water intakes or just overall looking at the bottom of the boat. Then one day I connected it to my TV, lowered the camera and watched fish swimming by. Then I found out that if I put light on the water at night I could see shrimp swimming around the light. For me this was just the start of something that I thought would be a good project and decided that next time I pull my boat out of the water I would install a color video camera under the boat. I looked around and found a company called Underwater Control Technologies that was working on such a product. Their main concern was checking the stabilizers, prop and running gear while underway.
A lot of damage can be done after a problem occurs by keeping the boat running. Before I got my camera I was on my way to Ganges and a shopping bag got hung up in my water intake to my port engine. In no time the engine got hot which caused the loss my steering. Navigators have the power takeoff to the rudder running off the port engine which ran so hot that I had to turn it off. If you have ever been to Ganges on Salt Spring Island you know that the wind is always blowing and there is a big rock in the middle of the harbor. If I could have been able to see under the boat I would have become aware of the problem and removed it. Without knowing, however, the engine was over heating I was in trouble. I was able to get rid of the plastic bag and let the engine cool off but just a little incident like that could have been disastrous or at the very least made for an anxious moment.
While cruising in the Pacific Northwest you never know what you might hit as there are so many logs and so much debris. Have you ever had a line go over board and wonder just how bad it is and can you put the boat in reverse and untangle the line or would that just make it worse? With a under water camera all those questions go away. Just look and you can, many times, undo a dumb error without a diver. Much like a chart plotter or thrusters, the Camera can quickly become another tool to keep you and your boat operating more safely and you can be more informed about the condition under your boat. It doesn't matter if you are a commercial or a recreational boat user it has a place on your boat.
As you can see it is not as easy as just putting a hole in the boat and pointing it down. It needs to be installed in a location that will display the prop, rudder, shaft and stabilizer. Underwater Controls has designed a bracket allowing for the proper angle to view the maximum distance and width with the clarity needed to be able to evaluate what is going on under the boat. The camera selection is also important as well as utilizing the correct lenses. Use of the wrong lens can cause the video transmission to be too light or too dark which will cause the entire system to be unusable. This is definitely a job for a professional.
For more information on a great product go to YACHTCAM INTERNATIONAL
Please click on the link to see a video of some of the things I have seen in just the short time I have had my video camera on my boat.