Backup cameras for boaters, a simple solution. When recently upgrading electronics on our boat, we considered adding video cameras, to be connected into the new chartplotter. The priority was to add a camera on the stern, allowing us to see what might be behind us when maneuvering in and out of marina moorage spaces. Simrad, our new chartplotter maker, offers some nice high-resolution cameras with various features. However, these cameras come at a price, about $500; then there’s the expense of wiring and mounting. Marine-grade full-size cameras need considerable mounting space, approximately the size of your fist or larger. Often, the biggest challenge is routing the wire for power and video to the camera. After we spent considerable time investigating every possible mounting location and wire-routing option for our boat, we failed to come up with a solution for the marine-grade cameras.
One day while backing out of a parking space with our car, we commented on the quality of the car’s small backup camera. We hit upon an idea; “our car has a tiny backup camera that works well, why can’t we have one like that on our boat?” So off we went to find an add-on vehicle backup camera. Sure enough, Amazon sells one for $17.99, complete with cabling. The camera is tiny, about ½ inch round by ¾ inch long. After buying a pre-made 50-foot extension cord for the camera, we wired it directly into the Simrad video display plug. The camera we chose was the Esky Car Rear View Model Number EC170-08.
WHERE TO MOUNT THE TINY CAMERA?
How about attaching it to the top of the flag pole? The tiny camera mounted perfectly on the end of the flag staff. From here, the tiny camera has an unobstructed view from the aft edge of the swim step and beyond. The camera’s green, yellow, and red colored alignment and proximity marks work as intended and help gauge the fish-eye lens distance to things in the camera’s view. Sorry, no audible beep-beep-beep warning, not yet. The plug was easily wired and mounted on the stern of the boat inside the cockpit below the flag pole stanchion.
For a clean, attractive wire installation on the flag pole, we cut a groove down the center line of the pole, ran the wires down the groove, and then filled the space with black teak-deck caulk. Yes, we might get a few questions from some curious boaters, “why do you need to plug in your flag pole?”