Unlimited Uses

 "See what the eyes cannot"

Using Thermal Imaging on Recreational Vessels

Using Infrared Technology for Boat Inspection

Those of us that are reading our favorite boating magazines and are visiting our favorite
chandleries are seeing FLIR Thermal Night Vision Systems as the next “must have” for safety.
But do you know there is another use for this high end Infrared technology that can not only protect you
at night and underway but even before you leave the dock?

Thermography is the use of an infrared imager and measurement camera to "see" and "measure"
thermal energy emitted from an object. Infrared allows us to see what our eyes cannot.
Everything above “absolute zero” generates thermal energy and is invisible to the naked eye.
Using a Flir thermal camera to detect and measure this energy allows us to see and understand this
energy and its effects on our boats equipment. Nearly everything gets hot before it fails.
On a boat, if it gets wet it will eventually fail, also, making infrared cameras extremely
cost-effective, valuable diagnostic tools in many diverse applications.

Infrared cameras that incorporate temperature measurement allow predictive maintenance professionals to make well
informed judgments about the operating condition of electrical and mechanical targets. Temperature measurements
 can be compared with historical operating temperatures, or with infrared readings of similar equipment at the same time,
to determine if a significant temperature rise will compromise component reliability.


According to “Trade Only Today” a marine industry trade magazine the age of the recreational fleet is
getting older, a lot older. In 2008 the average age of the fleet was 9 years old and today it’s reported to be
over 22 years old.  With fewer newer boats on the market, boaters looking to enter the market or move up
in size will have less selection and these older vessels that are a large portion of the available supply will come
 into consideration solely because that’s what’s available.

As with any piece of equipment, condition is very important but how well can the condition be determined?
Is there a way to figure out how the vessel has aged? Has water intrusion into the openings in the hull and decks
begun to saturate the laminate compromising the structure? What is the saturation of vessels cored with either
 plywood or balsa wood? Is the core intact or has it been emulsified by years of saturation, flexing and pounding
action sustained just thru regular use? By using an infrared camera to scan the hull saturated portions can be
found as the compromised areas will readily show significant temperature differences.


Areas of Inspection

Any openings that were cut into the hull such as where rail stanchions are fastened to the deck, port lights &
windows,air vents, rub rails, thru hull fittings, side and forward windows, and hatches are potential points of water
seeping in. With the thermal imager due to the temperature trail, the source of a leak can more readily be found. 
It is not the casual leak but those that have been going on over time that cause the deterioration and mold.
Besides cut outs in the hull other areas of concern are; the fore deck for delamination and soft spots, hull sides
which absorb most of the stress fromflexing as the vessel falls off a wave and the transom. The thermal imager,
accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree will be able to pick up any temperature differences.
Rather than sounding the hull with the traditional 8oz. hammer the imager can take a photo of a larger area of the
hull, with relation to location on the vessel. Should an anomaly be found, its size and scope can be determined and
due to the temperature differences may even show the extent of the damage.

Besides scanning for hull defects the sensitive infrared detector with its’ advanced electronics can be used to scan
for electrical, exhaust, engine, fuel systems, cooling systems, keel inspections  and a multitude of other potential
hard to detect potential problems. Marine surveyors can use thermal imagers to quickly see areas of the
vessel that require a second look.

 Mechanics may be able to shorten time to source many problems and prevent them from becoming critical. A quick
thermal scan shows points of potential failures before they become critical. In the illustration case below, using a
 Flir imager, a mechanic was able to prevent an engine over heat problem solely by seeing that the water in the
heat exchanger was not flowing as it should.

As the thermal cameras become more affordable, we will start seeing the technology being used by more
professional marine surveyors, electricians, mechanics, and shipyards as another tool to keep our boats on the water.
We are already seeing the technology being used as navigational tools with Maritime Thermal Night Vision Systems.
 Using the technology as a diagnostic tool with a marine application and a way to have a preventative maintenance
program is just the next step.
It’s already being used extensively in commercial applications for buildings and manufacturing industries.


Why is a Broker using this?

South Mountain Yachts is using Infrared Technology to be able to
offer broader services to their clients

Sellers should be more comfortable knowing the condition of the vessel they are selling. This leads to fewer
surprises at the time of buyer’s survey which may affect the final acceptance of the vessel. If a problem area
is discovered inadvance the seller can deal with it on his own terms, disclose it and price the vessel accordingly.
There is a lot of time and effort that goes into bringing a vessel to market and the better prepared a vessel is for
survey the easier a sale will happen when there is an interested buyer. 

Buyers should be more comfortable when making an offer knowing that there is a lot more information
and disclosure of the condition of the vessel before they spend their time and monies on a survey and hire a
mechanic. They can proceed with more knowledge on the condition of the vessel and plan accordingly.

By the time an offer is accepted, a sea trial performed and a marine survey held, everyone is anxious to
move forward with their plans.  In all, pre-inspecting a vessel gives both sellers and buyers more insight into
 the overall condition of the vessel and expectations can be managed accordingly.  As a brokerage firm,
SMY wants to be able to offer vessels that have been better inspected with more disclosure so that the
comfort level of all the parties involved is raised.  And while no one can predict what is about to happen,
thermal photos can show that beauty is more than just skin deep!

Besides offering “Underway Videos”, customized media for your vessel, Consulting Services,
thermal photography with inspection is an additional service offered by South Mountain Yachts.

Clients signing an extended Exclusive Listing with SMY will get multiple points of inspection included as part of the
overall benefits of listing with the company.  For boaters that are looking for the thermal inspection services for vessels
 for sale at different venues, SMY services can represent them as a buyer’s agent or retained on an hourly basis.
So whether you are purchasing, buying or just want to know what the status of your boat is.
Infrared Technology is one of the most advanced ways of finding out mechanically and structurally a boats condition.

The thermal camera imager can also be used for buildings to find water intrusion and loss of heating and cooling.
After all, a boat is a self-sustaining building on the water.

Lou Mencuccini at South Mountain Yachts is a Level I Certified Thermographer, a Certified Professional Yacht Broker
and has owned and operated South Mountain Yachts for 10 years.

 Points of Inspection

A. Mechanical inspection encompassing the engines, transmissions, interior exhausts systems, Pulleys, belts, pumps.

B. Generator, air conditioning pump, hot water heater, water pumps, batteries, tanks: basically any systems located in the
engine compartment.
Systems must be put under load for inspection.

C. Hull, Deck, Bridge, Transom (if accessible): All external surfaces. Wetted Surfaces if vessel is hauled out including:
Keels, rudders, under water thru hull intakes

For More information and to see great Boats for Sale, Visit:


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