Forward looking Sonar

Any comments to this new aid to navigation and collision avoidance (?):

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EchoPilot patented a FLS way back in 1992.

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Yeah, that ain’t new.

It is the Sonadyne FLS that is new, not FLS as such.
Fishing vessels have had FLS for many years (AKA as Fish Finder)

I had FLS on an expedition yacht 20 years ago. Fish finders have been around a long time and they can’t touch FLS.

So you are looking for comments on the brand-specific brand new model of an old technology? I’d be surprised if anyone has used one that has been installed yet.

It might have a niche market for vessels working near land in remote parts of Africa that still rely on charts using 19th century lead line survey data.

As an engineer it looks cool and fun to play with.

But can anyone comment on whether this isn’t just another pane in the glass window of distractions on the bridge? Or would it only be a tool to use when close to a known obstruction?

It’s a tool to be used in shallow waters that rarely see traffic and that were last surveyed in the 19th century.


Used a chase boat (fishing vessel) fitted with FLS who ran ahead of us when seismic surveying close inshore . If he missed something and stopped I was prepared to move immediately to deep water.

I’ve only seen FLS one time, it was when I was mate on a tug in Alaska with barge equipped with a ramp on the bow to load/unload directly onto the beach. There are also a few channels with unmarked obstructions where it might be handy, and running up the rivers.

If you’re working off the beaten path in Alaska the charts can’t really be trusted too much.

I don’t know if FLS is commonly used on US vessels, but I have never seen FLS on any ordinary merchant vessel, or offshore vessel, that I can remember. (I think I’v seen one on a Seismic vessel though)
The fish finders in use on modern fishing boats are basically FLS, but with more functions as well. The main function being spotting schools of fish down to great depth and ahead of the vessel.

This claim is what caught my eyes:

Does that mean it can spot targets (vessels?) as well as shallows??
Anybody here who have seen and used a Vigilante FLS?

This seems like the kind of thing that would hardly ever work due to marine growth on the hull etc… a bit like doppler logs, been on a lot of boats where they are not working most of the time.

I’ve used FLS and have seen them used on several vessels. It is a high dollar installation and has some utility in security applications or around reefs.

To make it work properly takes a HUGE amount of computing power and IT backbone bandwidth. We definitely could spot bouy chains, divers, objects and the shape of the channel at 1000 meters ahead, clear as day.

But that is at a non-commercial cost basis — and controlled technology. FURUNO makes a dumbed down version that is pretty good - it is 360 degree SONAR