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Really liked the seabed image offered by the FLS 3D while were in British Columbia.  It will be very beneficial in Indonesia and other areas where we don’t trust the charts.

 

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I would just like to say how pleased I have been  with my Echopilot FLS. I fitted one to a Westerly that I took across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and the  Bahamas, where some of the charting is not great and there are many reefs and shallows. The Echopilot was brilliant, allowing me to safely edge my way into some very tight anchorages. It was also very useful when anchoring as I was able to do a quick 360 to have a look at the depths for the swing whilst at anchor.

A few years later I changed yachts and purchased a Moody. The first item I specified was an Echopilot Bronze. I took this boat from the UK through the French Canal system to the Med. Again the unit was excellent, giving me a clear picture of what was ahead where I sometimes had just a foot or so to spare. I doubt I could have done parts of the trip with such confidence with a conventional sounder.

I have now sailed over 20,000 miles with your unit and it has never missed a beat. I am also a specialist Blue Water Yacht Broker and have no hesitation in recommending Echopilot to my clients.

 

John Rodriguez  www.jryachts.com

 

 

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 I put the Forward looking sonar from you, that I bought this summer to the boat and it was a great help in this unchartered area. With using the sonar we got an extra security and did save a lot of time when anchoring. We did stay in 8 anchorages and only 2 of them had some charts And they are maybe 100 years old, and I heard about a French Yacht that hit a rock or big stone in Hekla harbour, In Danmark Island, this summer  and did damage the lifting keel.  The yacht was lifted up in Akureyri and repaired.  The crew was quite happy with the sonar and it was right decision to buy the sonar and put him in the boat for the tour.

 

 

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I have no idea why this is not standard equipment on today's boats. I have had two fitted to two different boats and have covered some 20,000 miles with them.  They have been faultless. I have found them especially useful in the shallows of the Bahamas, the French Canals and the ICW in America.
A conventional sounder is often giving delayed information, sometimes up to 30 seconds late. Great for seeing how shallow the sand bar was you just hit! Whereas the echopilot is much closer to real-time and it shows you what is ahead. There is no contest.
I have inched my way through very shallow, shifting cuts in the Bahamas, with literally inches to spare. I find it great for "sweeping" an uneven anchorage to find the shoals or wreck that I would otherwise swing into.
It's like having underwater radar. I can travel through a narrow inland waterway cut knowing exactly where the edge of the dredged channel is.
Several times I have sounded with a leadline to test it's accuracy and it has been 100%. Interestingly this year in the Turks and Caicos I was travelling with a boat that had a competitor's unit. We kept on disagreeing on depths, it's very shallow there and you have to pick your way through, so we dived and measured from each boats transducer. The echopilot was 100% spot on and the (censored) was up to half a meter out.
My Hydrovane and my echopilot are two items of kit I would never be without.  No connection to the company, just very very happy with it.

 

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Love mine. Platinum version delivering display through eSeries video input.
Worked fine even at 5 knots under sail. Would have liked 1 more step in the zoom but it was acceptable.
I asked both echopilot and Raymarine if I should disable the 'other' system when theirs was operating and both said yes since they would interfere with each other. Didn't have time to fit a changeover in the power lines so ended up running both simultaneously, working fine so wont bother now. ( EP TX in front of keel, Ray to port of keel, mounted internally and about 1.5m behind the EP TX )
Forward 'view' about 100m or so so good for trickling in to an anchorage. Pushed right up to a steeply shelving beach much to the consternation of some friends watching. Ideally might consider turning TX 180 degrees in the med so that it looks backward for med mooring!

 

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Hi Chris,
Attached are some photos of where our EchoPilot proved itself!
Sandy island is just a nice little sand cay off Carriacou. You could see there were no problems here the same as Carriacou - Tyrrel Bay. However while coming south towards Hillsborough (Carriacou.JPG) just a few miles away, the EchoPilot warned us of a coral head very close to the surface and not on the chart. The track we sailed was basically down the middle of the picture, top down. We found that the electronic charts are based on various charts dating back many years and close in and between islands they can not be relied on.
As you can see from the picture of Union Island the harbour has many coral heads and the area is quite small. Using the EchoPilot gave us confidence in our maneuvering (you need a CQR anchor here as a Bruce will not work - the ground is too hard).
Sailing from Union to Tobago Cays looks simple. The guide books say sail around another island to get there. With the EchoPilot we had the confidence to follow the local boats straight there, sailing around coral heads that were misplaced on our electronic charts. While around Tobago Cays we were able to stay safe because we could 'see' ahead of us while two other boats went aground! It provided much amusement for the rest.
With a catamaran in a difficult area, I was able to turn 360 degrees with the engines and see a sweep of the surrounding area and know that there were no obstructions. The lay of the anchor chain could also be seen usually.
It was not just in the Caribbean that the EchoPilot was useful. While in the Spanish Ria's we found our way blocked by a submerged rock between some confusing markers. No locals to follow this time so we went around the long way. We had not hit it though. If we had no EchoPilot we would have not tried to go that route but many times after that we used the security and confidence it gave to go places others would not go.


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I fitted the EchoPilot two years ago and it has been excellent. We took our boat through the French canals and it proved its self many times. We avoided a pile of submerged rocks when coming out of a marina in the mist one morning. I have to say that for the money that it cost it was one of our best buys. As with many things boaty, when you get used to having it you wonder how you ever managed without it. 


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I have an Echopilot FLS II, older obselete unit. If it performance is any example of the newer ones-it's great. Also about 1/2 the costs of (censored) and has been in business longer.

 

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"We've had an echopilot FLS since 2000. It doesn't do the side scan like the latest (censored) sonars, but scans forward in an arc from vertically down to horizontally forward. It also doesn't have a colour display. But they only cost around 1/2 what (censored) do, the update rate on the display is very good and overall mine works very well.

I doubt it would be much use as far as spotting shipping containers is concerned, until you were quite close anyway, but it is excellent for spotting reefs, especially coral, which can tend to be a vertical wall.

Usually it can "see" forward by 4 times the water's depth, up to a max of 150m. There is a more pricey version now that looks 200m forward.

Also their transducers fit in std 38mm thru-hulls, and can be withdrawn and cleaned, while the boat is in the water, which is a plus. The (censored) transducer is quite large, probably not suitable for a fast multihull."

 

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I promised to let everyone know how well the platinum forward sonar worked on my new boat.

Taking the boat to the boat show was a 20 hour trip plus an 8 hour wait in the lock - that must be a record! The return journey was again delayed by a three hour wait for the lock 0 that is we were let out three hours after they told us we had to leave. But another 20 hours were clocked up via Ramsgate for the night.
Ended up probing up in Chichester mud flats at 1 am waiting for the tide to get into Emsworth.

So, in all about 40 hours worth of use - the system worked very well.

I had to alter the sonar frequency on the raymarine stuff to prevent interference - the new E series allows you to do that but once that was solved the Echo Pilot worked very well indeed giving consistent and reliable results. I left it on auto range so that in 50 metres of water it was giving me a 200 metre range ahead (it gives 4 times the depth).

The Echo Pilot is mainly a navigation tool whereas the USA forward looking sonar is more of a fish finding tool - never the less it still managed to work in spotting shoals of fish and big fish ahead which were then confirmed by the fish finder sonar as we passed over the fish.

It worked at all speeds but this is an SD hull and I cannot comment on how well it would work moving fast in a planing hull. never the less in both hulls it should work well when probing estuaries etc.

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I've had the Echopilot with professional transducer on two boats now,and wouldn't be without it. As other people have said, not much use for detecting objects, but extremely useful for slowly creeping into strange anchorages or marinas. Saved me on one occasion when going into an anchorage in Ireland when the transit wasn't visible and the sounder picked up rocks over 100 metres ahead.
On the downside, the distance ahead is governed by the depth of water, and I've turned the shallow alarm off as it is extremely sensitive to almost anything ahead, hard or not.
Overall, a good piece of kit.
  


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 I've saidthousand times I wouldn't be without mine, now others who have actually got one have said the same. Go and buy an EchoPilot and then buy me lunch. You'll love it when you start anchoring around the med.

 

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We have the platinum version, as previously posted it does what it says on the box. We use it for creeping in and out of places (with 7' draft you have too), wouldn't be without it. 

It will not scan ahead for submerged objects, but then it does say this in the instruction book.
May I suggest you use the Mk 1 eyeball and gut instinct for this-much more effective. Still the Echopilot is a good piece of kit I have no complaints.

 

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I have the basic echopilot and it works very well. Much more re-assuring knowing whats just ahead, rather then underneath right now.
Bit of a pain as my boat can beach, but not without removing the transducer.

 

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Forward Looking Echo Sounder by Echopilot.

I would never go back to a conventional sounder again.

Here's mine tracking a whale sounding off the coast of The Dominican Republic.

 


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We cruised the Bahamas and were able to take very narrow cuts between the deep water and the banks. Also travelled from Florida to Washington on the inland waterways and through the French canals to the Med. The Echopilot gives up to 100mtrs ahead plus depth below in real time. Most conventional sounders are up to 15sec delayed. It's also great for picking an anchoring spot in a shelving anchorage. When we changed to the 38' it was the first bit of kit I ordered. 

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