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Not that long ago, as our friend Chris was getting ready to give a boat briefing to some Moorings‘ clients, the two of us spent some time looking around a big new Leopard power cat. One of the features that the boat came with was a camera that displayed an image on a screen at the fly bridge, in theory positioned in such a way as to give the helmsman a view of what was behind the boat when it was being reversed (during docking presumably). I say in theory because the camera wasn’t actually adjusted all that well, and all we could really see was the tender in the davits. Nice thought, but the implementation just needed a bit of tweaking.

Coincidentally, one of the local buses that we recently took to go hiking had a similar backup camera installed. This technology is obviously in use by many of the newer cars, so why not on boats?

The other day, while out sailing, our guest Michael was playing around with his new GoPro. He had mounted the camera on the port rail, and by using the associated iPhone app, was able to view the footage from the camera on his phone from the safety of the cockpit. Cool stuff.

All this got me thinking. Using this technology, if you wanted an extra set of eyes on the stern, why not mount your GoPro on the rear rail and tether it to a phone or tablet at the helm? Everyone has a GoPro and a smart phone these days, don’t they? 😉

Out sailing yesterday.

12 Comments

  1. Be careful with doing that. Most people don’t realize the image is reversed in automotive backup cameras to correspond right and left. If you don’t have a way to flip the image, right becomes left and you’ll be turning the wrong way.

  2. The only issue I could see with this is there is a slight delay in the feed from the GP camera to the device (depending on your bandwidth) so if you’re using it for close quarters avoidance, I would be extra vigilant.

  3. I have a GoPro Hero 2 with the wifi attachment and there is quite a bit of delay in the video displayed on my iPhone. I wouldn’t want to try to back the boat into a slip using that system. There may be less lag in the newer GoPro cameras that have wifi built in.

    • Yes, I found out about that yesterday. I tested it myself on our HD3 and found that if the camera was right beside the phone, the delay was minimal. As they were moved farther apart, like they would be from the stern to the helm, the lag was signifiant. Oh well.

  4. Why waste a go pro? Dlink makes a cheap WiFi camera for about $40 that would be great. I think you can even reverse the picture. DCL 931

    • That’s cool. I wasn’t aware of the availability of such devices but even so, I doubt that I would go and buy one for the purpose that I described. Already having the GoPro on hand, the application was more novelty than necessity. I can dock the boat without it, as I’m sure most people reading this could too. 🙂

      • I am thinking that I would have a couple of these on the boat if ever the day comes. Some have Infrared LED’s so that you can see clearly at night for a distance of 10-15 feet. Think how nice it would be to keep one in the cockpit when you sleep so that when you hear noises on deck or nearby you can turn on your iPad and see what’s going on before you open the door. I have a couple of them out at the cottage and it’s great to be able to check on things without driving out.

        • I suppose. To tell the truth though, when I hear a noise on deck, I get out there. If I really thought that someone was on the boat, I’d have a big stick in my hand as I climbed the companionway steps.

  5. If you’re flying one of those deck-sweeper genoas, put the camera up forward so you can see behind the sail.

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