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Maritime Applications of Cooled Thermal Imaging Cameras

Updated: Jul 12, 2023



Our nation’s heroic first responders often conduct their crucial missions to save lives at sea in challenging and dangerous conditions. At SiriusInsight, we believe it is our duty to help make their jobs easier and support their life-saving activities through the use of our AI-powered technology.


Around 160 fatalities occur each year along the UK coastline, with many victims never in fact intending to enter the water. Changeable conditions at sea including weather, maritime traffic and technical failure on board vessels all constitute serious peril at sea, with falling overboard sadly a major cause of accidental and untimely death across the maritime sector. While many of these tragedies are unforeseeable, they are not, however, unpreventable.


Organisations such as the RNLI and HM Coastguard, whose watchwords are courage and service, receive callouts around the clock and across the year to provide vital life-saving assistance during challenging situations at sea. But the very conditions that give rise to such life-threatening incidents often prove a serious impediment to such rescue operations. Providing search and rescue authorities with the most topographical and up to date visualisation of the sea environment is, therefore, of vital importance to improving the outcomes of rescue missions.


At SiriusInsight, we improve safety and security at sea by strengthening the effectiveness of human watchkeeping through the reinforcement and integration of advanced AI-powered technology. In these life-or-death situations, swift identification of vulnerable persons in the water can save valuable minutes and make the critical difference between the success or failure of the rescue operation.


RNLI Inshore Lifeboat

A powerful aid we utilise to support such rescue operations is advanced cooled thermal imaging cameras. This kind of camera enables us to spot minute differences in temperature at high-resolutions, permitting the swift identification of souls overboard even at night and in difficult conditions. The accuracy of these cameras also ensures we can detect objects and people at significant range. This technology, part of our wider array of sensors and cameras spread along the UK coastline, allows our AI-powered system autonomously to spot and report such incidents to the relevant authorities in real time, enabling swift action to be taken and, in this way, maximising the opportunities to protect the lives of those at sea.


At Sirius Insight, we feel privileged to have been able to place our technology at the disposal of rescue organisations. For example, within weeks of being deployed in Jersey our cameras were able to assist in two life threatening events – one on the waters edge and one out to sea leading to successful rescues. The Coastguard Manager at Jersey said “Sirius Insight’s remote monitoring station…has greatly improved our Search & Rescue capability by reducing the amount of time it takes to locate a casualty and facilitate their immediate rescue”


Whilst every life saved as a consequence of our technology is a tremendous source of satisfaction and pride as well as testimony to the technology’s coming of age, it has additional applications beyond life-saving activities.




Merchant Vessel at 9 Nautical Miles


Our cooled thermal imaging cameras, working in concert with our advanced radar and AIS-tracking technology, significantly enhance our vessel-monitoring activities, too. When visibility is poor, these powerful cameras allow us to cut through the darkness, fog, and rain, and identify vessels who may be breaching sanctions, making illegal voyages, or illicitly smuggling products and people into the country.



Through the use of our cooled thermal imaging cameras, authorities are now able to monitor and control maritime borders day and night, even during the most extreme weather conditions.


Being able to play our part in enhancing the resilience of our maritime borders and save lives at sea is a privilege, and one we are reminded of every day, as our technology helps to support the courageous endeavours of our rescue and law-enforcement services.


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