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Center console speed wins tournaments, but requires enhanced situational awareness for safety

by Liza Dukino 12 Dec 2019 03:48 PST
Captain Jim Kelly and the FLIR Fishing Team leverage FLIR and Raymarine technology to maximize safety during fast fishing © Raymarine

Today's center-console tournament fishing boats are big, powerful and designed to get to fish fast, a decided advantage in most tournament-fishing situations. But speed can come at a cost; decreased reaction time can threaten safety.

Navigational environments change quickly. Traffic, weather, visibility, sea conditions, and surface and subsurface hazards are all threats to safe navigation. And they can represent even greater threats to a vessel moving at high speed. Center console captains need the best technologies to enhance situational awareness and keep themselves, their crew and their boats safe.

Jim Kelly is Owner and Captain of the FLIR Fishing Team out of Anna Maria Island, Florida. Along with Co-Captain, Lance Herring, Kelly runs an Intrepid 40' Nomad SE in kingfish tournaments up and down the Gulf Coast.

"We fish a variety of tournaments, a lot of them out of John's Pass on the West Coast of Florida," says Kelly. "They start at sunup and the pass is roughly 20 miles. I'm going through Tampa Bay, which is home to lots of large cargo ships and tankers that tend to move in and out early in the morning. The most important piece of equipment that I have on the boat and that I've had for about six years is a FLIR thermal camera. I can run at 20 or 30 knots in the dark and see whatever's in the water. It's the first thing I turn on when I get in the boat and it's probably my most important piece of equipment."

Specifically, FLIR Fishing Team runs a FLIR M364C thermal camera, which is part of the new M300 Series. The dual sensor M364C offers Kelly greater awareness via FLIR's patented Color Thermal VisionTM (CTV) technology. This proprietary multispectral imaging technology blends thermal and high-definition visible color video for enhanced identification of buoys, vessels and other targets at night, and displays the image-stabilized video feed directly to one or both of Kelly's high-definition (HD) 22" Axiom® XL multifunction displays. And with Raymarine ClearCruise AR (Augmented Reality), Kelly can overlay and view information about specific AIS targets, making complex navigation and high-traffic situations simpler and faster to understand.

"This is my fourth Intrepid," says Kelly, who has been fishing for over 40 years. "We upgraded all the electronics to a full suite of solutions - not just the FLIR M364C and the Raymarine Axiom XL MFDs, but also Magnum Radar with Bird Mode, Evolution Autopilot, and remote VHF to ensure our safety and maximum performance out on the water. We also run Raymarine CHIRP and RealVision 3D sonar. This boat is tricked out with everything you could need for fishing competitively."

Center console captains take note: fast boats require enhanced situational awareness for safety. FLIR and Raymarine make the technologies and products that make the complex environments around your boat - above and below the waterline - easier and faster to understand than ever. That means better decisions that lead to better and safer days on the water.

For more information on the Raymarine electronics, visit

For more information on the FLIR marine products, visit

Learn more about Captain Jim Kelly and the FLIR Fishing Team at, or follow their adventures on social media at @flirfishingteam.

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