By: Scott Way
Now that cars and trucks are coming standard with multi-camera systems designed to prevent impacts and remove blind spots, it seems boats are now doing the same.
Garmin has just released the Surround View Camera System, a multi-camera integrated platform that uses six high-definition cameras to provide a 360 degree view of the vessel at all times. The system removes blind spots during tight quarters maneuvering, provides distance measurements while backing up/docking, and produces a warning system against contact with unseen objects like pilings, debris in the water, or smaller unseen vessels.
In a company statement, Garmin VP of Global Consumer Sales Dan Bartel stated, “Our innovative Surround View brings the comforts and conveniences our customers rely on in their vehicles to the helm of their yacht to help captains see as much of their environment as possible for easier maneuvering on the water. Until now, no other marine camera technology has offered a true 360-degree bird’s-eye view, a vantage point that can help reduce the stress of docking and navigating marinas, narrow causeways and busy channels by giving captains a live look at their surroundings.”
The camera setup is as follows: six HD 1080p cameras are placed strategically with one at the bow facing forward, one aft facing the backward, and two on both port and starboard sides to cover the full length of the vessel. The cameras as OEM installed and are through-hull mounted, meaning cameras are mounted flush with the exterior hull and therefore won't obstruct anything on the outside of the boat like a buoy or dock line.
From the helm, captains can use a cumulative view to provide a full 360 birds-eye view, or they can access individual cameras for a close-up of particular segments of the hull. Captains can also use a zoom feature on each individual camera as well as pan through their six options as needed. Like modern vehicles, the built-in Visual Bumper creates an audible warning sound when an object comes within a preset distance. Captains can set the distance they desire to trigger the alarm. There are also Distance Markers when backing up to provide an overlaid scale of measurement on the screen so the user can gauge the remaining distance from an object like a dock or piling. To use the Surround View system, a compatible Garmin plotter or MFD (GPSMAP 8400/8600, GPSMAP 7x3/9x3/12x3 series) or the Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit System is required.
You can check out the Surround View Camera System in action below: