John Totsch, here.
I designed the original Nite Track system for boaters.
To be useful on a boat at night, Nite Track had to work in near-absolute darkness. When you’re on the water and it’s a moonless night or the conditions are overcast, it can get pretty black. Especially if you’re away from city shorelines.
Boating at Night, NITE TRACK put to the test…
Nite Track also had to provide a true depth of field. When you see an object in the water, you need to have an accurate sense of how far it is from you, so you can make a course correction before you’re on top of it. (With Nite Track, you can see a paper cup at a hundred yards.)
And it needed to offer true hands-free operation. You know when you’re out on a boat, you’re watching your GPS plotter and you’re scanning your surroundings. You can’t be switching back and forth between some handheld monocle and your normal vision. So that meant giving you a video read-out that you can take in at a glance. For that to be useful, it needed to be high resolution and have a refresh rate that is natural to the human eye.
A dock seen at distance with Nite Track on a moonless night with no ambient light sources.
Nite Track reveals the text on the signs that would otherwise be invisible.
I knew quite a bit already about the available technologies and it didn’t take long to fine tune a system that I knew was worthy of boaters… even in the trickiest conditions.
Once it was ready, I wanted to really put it to the test. So I called up a friend of mine. This is a gentleman who is very serious about boating safety. And he was very skeptical about what I was trying to accomplish.
I asked him if we could hook my new system up to his boat and take it for a ride down the river at night. Now, the river near his home is narrow and rocky. Not ideal conditions for driving a boat at night.
He agreed, but I could tell he was worried. He thought I was going to wreck his boat or worse.
And remember, he takes boating safety seriously. So we all had on life jackets. And he’d brought back-up life jackets. He’d mapped out the river and where the most likely places were for a crash. And then he’d plotted routes from those spots to the nearest roads so that we could get picked up after meeting our inevitable fate.
We started off at a crawl.
Let me tell you, the look on my friend’s face — even though I could only see it by the soft glow of the video monitor — it was completely priceless.
He couldn’t believe the clarity. Every rock. Every threatening log. He could see them all… and with plenty of time to avoid them.
We started going faster. And a little faster. And then we were flying down the river at full throttle. In the dark, and having a great time.
Now with Nite Track on board, my friend has even been known to go out on the Mississippi river at night, in his 20-foot jet boat! He is that confident that he’ll always get home safely.
Learn how you can add Nite Track to your own boat for better safety and more freedom.
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