Garmin is taking boaters’ situational awareness to new heights—literally. With its Surround View camera system, the company aims to mitigate virtually all problems that skippers typically have when docking and maneuvering in tight spaces.
Using six cameras located around the boat, Surround View provides a bird’s-eye video and 360-degree views from the helm. For now, Garmin says, regardless of the boat’s size, there will always be six cameras: two amidships (one each to port and starboard), two foredeck cameras (again, port and starboard), one camera at the tip of the bow, and one far aft at the stern. Surround View stitches together the videos from each camera to create a seamless, real-time feed.
Skippers can also access each camera individually, with zooming and panning capabilities. The in-hull camera integration doesn’t compromise a boat’s exterior look. If a collision occurs, a springlike mechanism allows for the cameras to push into the boat. Damaged? On-the-spot repairs can be made without taking the boat apart.
Surround View also comes with augmented-reality features. Captains can see a visual bumper surrounding their vessels on their multifunction displays; that bumper can be expanded as close or as far as needed. There are also distance markers and a reverse-camera view akin to those found in cars. A Garmin chart plotter is required for Surround View to be integrated at the helm.