Ask The Expert: Thermal cameras improving superyacht security

What are the main uses of thermal imaging cameras?

Thermal imaging cameras are widely used for security, man-over-board, threat detection, and safe night-time navigation. An increasing number of superyacht owners are demanding that thermal becomes ‘standard’ on new builds and refits.

How has thermal camera technology evolved to benefit the superyacht industry?

Once the preserve of the military, over the last decade thermal imaging has become a must-have part of the technology suite aboard most superyachts. No longer producing grainy, green optics, today’s cutting-edge, cooled-core tech devices provide sharp images and act as a captain’s eyes in the dark, aiding navigation and safety in a range of situations.

There is no doubt that the recent advancement of thermal imaging technology has significantly improved the protection of superyachts and mega yachts, resulting in vastly improved safety for those on board, as well as protecting such high-value assets. Step on board the highest spec’d yacht and you will discover a range of sophisticated thermal imaging equipment integrated into the vessel’s helm and security systems.

Leading the way in these developments, Teledyne FLIR’s name has become almost synonymous with thermal imaging in the marine industry. As the sensor specialist behind the world’s leading military night-vision systems, over the last decade, the firm’s marine division has made its groundbreaking products available to superyacht owners and captains – who have always been keen to adopt the latest developments in technology.

What products are available from Teledyne FLIR?

Teledyne FLIR’s marine series (M-Series) features two cameras developed specifically for the superyacht market. The high-performance M400 multi-sensor thermal camera provides users with exceptional situational awareness and the ability to see clearly in challenging environmental conditions, such as total darkness, solar glare, blinding smoke and certain types of fog. For optimal short- and long-range detection, the pan/tilt M400 features a high-resolution 640×480 thermal imager paired with a unique 4x continuous optical zoom lens and a high-definition colour camera with 30x optical zoom that allows operators to see other vessels and targets at longer ranges. It also has an integrated, high-intensity LED spotlight for positive identification of nearby targets.

The ultra-high-performance M500 camera system is packed with cutting-edge technologies that deliver superior vision at both long and short ranges. M500’s main payload is a cryogenically cooled Mid-Wave Infrared (MWIR) thermal sensor that is fitted with a 14x optical zoom lens. Previously reserved for military-grade systems, the M500’s thermal imager can detect the heat signature of small vessels at ranges up to 9 kilometers (5 nautical miles). The M500 also has a visible light camera consisting of a high-definition, lowlight-capable color camera system with a 30x optical zoom. M500 features a high-intensity LED spotlight.

Offered By Savage Marine Ltd

Ask The Expert: Marine lighting solutions

So, how many people does it actually take to change a lightbulb?

Even more than when Savage Lighting started 20 years ago! We have experts overseeing every step, from the first conversations and surveys to the design and manufacturing, and finally to the installation. We liaise with our clients and engineers, consult architects and shipbuilders, and think about all the fine details from replacing the overheads to protecting the carpets. It’s an enormous task, so having a company that can provide a full and flexible package to meet a superyacht’s bespoke needs is essential. That’s what we’re here for guiding lighting solutions from start to finish.

What does Savage Lighting offer?

In a word, simplicity. Given our research and development team are at the forefront of it, we know how far technology and innovation in the industry have come. In a world of dynamic lighting, its integration with music, and the fact that this can now all be controlled from a tablet, keeping the process simple for our clients is what we do best.

But your yacht lights manufacturing facilities are anything but simple

Our in-house precision engineers work tirelessly to produce technically optimal lights that will integrate into our client’s design preferences. Whether it be for a new build, a complete overhaul of a current system, or just a refresh of existing lights, we’ve got state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities that are up to the job. It’s these results that keep captains coming back to us.

It’s been a dark few years, how have you kept the lights on?

As ever, through reacting and innovating. To maintain a world-class service in a post-Brexit world we’ve opened a new office in the Netherlands to work alongside our UK and US bases. Having a foot in Europe means we can keep delivering projects to our clients on time and within budget. And another huge development is that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic our technology has taken huge strides.

Can lights kill bacteria?

They can! This year we launched our new product, Light Cleanse, which kills 99% of bacteria. Whilst UV is a natural source of disinfectant, it’s not safe for humans. We’ve produced a 100% UV-free technology that is completely harmless to humans and has been scientifically proven to kill bacteria. We’ve integrated this new antimicrobial light into our bespoke designs and are now – as far as I am aware – the only company providing this product to the superyacht world. Because of how incredible Light Cleanse is, we are also working with hospitals to install it where it’s needed most.

Offered By Savage Marine Ltd