Thermal Imaging

Comprehending Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging, alternatively referred to as infrared imaging, thermography, or thermal scanning, is a method utilized for the detection or visualization of objects by their thermal radiation. This technology captures the heat emitted by objects and translates it into visual representations, rendering it a valuable asset in diverse applications.

The images presented here illustrate a contrast between a conventional thermal image and a Thermal MSX® Image. The latter, harnessing the power of MSX® technology, yields a crisper and more precise thermal image, thereby facilitating the identification of issues with greater ease.

In the context of marine surveying, where non-intrusive evaluation is paramount, thermal imaging proves to be an invaluable tool. Unlike traditional inspection techniques that necessitate disassembly, thermal imaging empowers surveyors to peer inside components without any physical intrusion. This technology bestows upon them the capability to examine alternators, electrical panels, power steering pumps, and evaluate the condition of bearings, including wear and misalignment. The absence of thermal imaging would significantly heighten the challenge of identifying impending issues.

Thermal scans exhibit remarkable proficiency in the detection of potential problems within engine cooling systems, encompassing heat exchangers, bearings, manifolds, risers, and other crucial components. They can unveil issues such as coolant blockages, which might otherwise go unnoticed without the assistance of a marine mechanic or electrician. It’s crucial to emphasize that thermal imaging serves as a complement to the expertise of professionals, augmenting the effectiveness of marine surveyors.

How Thermal Imaging Operates



Thermal imaging proves to be a valuable asset for detecting temperature irregularities in machinery and electrical equipment. Given that all objects emit some level of thermal radiation, thermal imaging effectively works on a wide range of materials, including wood, aluminum, steel, and fiberglass. Notably, thermal cameras function proficiently in total darkness, as they do not rely on visible light. While this technology is well-established in various industries, its application in marine surveying is relatively recent.

At Sun Coast Marine Surveying, we employ FLIR® brand infrared cameras, particularly those equipped with MSX® technology. This exclusive technology is a distinctive feature of FLIR® cameras and enriches thermal images by seamlessly incorporating real-time details from an integrated visible light camera. The outcome is a thermal image with annotations, numerical data, and structural information that simplifies the identification of objects.

The process involves capturing three images of the target object:

  1. Digital Image
  2. Thermal Image
  3. Thermal MSX

The Thermal MSX® image merges these three pictures into a readily discernible overlay, and FLIR® software simplifies the viewing of these images.

Benefits of Thermal Imaging

The benefits of utilizing thermal imaging in marine surveying are numerous:

  1. Non-Intrusive Inspection: Thermal imaging obviates the necessity for surveyors to make physical contact with hot and moving engine components, thereby guaranteeing their safety. Furthermore, it permits the examination of electrical components without the potential risk of electrocution.
  2. Immediate Outcomes: The process of scanning and recording using a thermal camera delivers real-time results, thereby conserving time and resources during inspections.
  3. Detecting Temperature Aberrations: Thermal patterns can be easily discerned, diminishing the necessity for additional technician or mechanic participation in the course of a boat inspection, ultimately resulting in time and cost savings.
  4. Improved Inspection Reports: Sun Coast Marine Surveying and Consulting provides thermal imaging as an inclusive service. This service assists in evaluating various components, including electrical systems, tanks, gearboxes, engines, hulls, and decks, enabling us to detect faults, leaks, or delamination, all of which are incorporated into our comprehensive survey reports.

Enhancing Vessel Safety through Thermography

Thermography assumes a critical role in preserving the safety of your vessel. It not only aids in the identification of existing issues but also anticipates potential problems. This information serves as a protective shield for your investment by preventing electrical fires, detecting leaks, and pinpointing irregularities in the engine that could lead to costly repairs.

In the provided image, thermal imaging uncovered delamination, highlighting its capacity to expose structural issues that may remain unnoticed through conventional survey methods.

While we embrace cutting-edge technologies, at Sun Coast Marine Surveying and Consulting, we maintain our reliance on traditional surveying techniques, including percussion soundings and moisture meters. Our utilization of FLIR® thermal cameras equipped with MSX® imaging technology empowers us to deliver comprehensive surveys that distinguish us from our competitors, ensuring that we provide the utmost service to our clients.