FORT LAUDERDALE — About 150 dealers and distributors, product representatives and members of the media took a firsthand look Wednesday night at the latest electronics and thermal night vision cameras from FLIR Systems and Raymarine during a cruise aboard a 131-foot tour boat.
"This is an event that we use, first of all, to say thank you to our dealers and members of the media. It is something we've been doing now since 2006," said Andrew C. Teich, president of FLIR Systems, which owns Raymarine. "We also like to use this event as an environment to show people how our products perform in action."
FLIR Systems installed the cameras and displays around the boat — from bow to stern and on three decks — and took guests on a two-hour cruise on the Intracoastal Waterway. Teich gave a 20-minute presentation, highlighting new products via a projection screen.
One of the latest products from FLIR is the First Mate MS (marine scope), a product that illustrates the company's effort to lower the cost of thermal imaging to the level of the everyday boater, Teich said.
"The handheld unit is small, light and marinized," he said. "And we've brought the price point down to just under $2,000. This is a product that can get thermal imaging into the hands of every boater."
Teich also talked about the new e7 multifunction display from Raymarine, which serves as the “heart of the Raymarine electronics system.” It integrates an array of technology, from touch-screen capabilities and Wi-Fi connectivity to iOS devices and Blue Tooth capability, he said. "And it has a great suite of radar, sonar and GPS and autopilot functions all built into the unit."
At least 10 products were shown on the boat, said Haley Barclay, advertising and public relations manager. "We have at least five thermal cameras, from handheld to fixed-mount — every flavor you could want," she said.
Soundings Trade Only asked Teich to take the temperature of his company and the industry as a whole headed into the heart of the boat show season.
"We're cautiously optimistic about growth in the industry," he said. "We're really hoping we've seen the bottom for the industry and that we're going to see the industry start responding positively. We're seeing that with both a combination of a launch of new products, plus explaining to people the power that thermal brings to the industry."
— Chris Landry