Simrad Forward Looking Sonar-A Winner

With Simrad’s recent update, their forward-looking sonar has become a valuable tool, in particular when used in conjunction with their structure scan. The FLS is giving us an indication of the bottom coming up 350 feet ahead of us.

Three minutes later and water depth has gone from 132 feet to 77 feet, and we still have useful data at 300 feet ahead. The upper left window shows Structure Scan in the down view. The Structure Scan is a record of what is directly under the boat or more properly under the transducer – wherever this is mounted. FLS is looking forward.

A couple of minutes later. Bottom has trended up. Range forward is dropping with the shallower depths, but is still useful at 250 feet.

Here is an extreme crop of the previous photo showing the chart detail, along with the Structure Sound down view.

The conditions are favorable, cool, relatively clear water, and virtually calm.

Is this a direct competitor for Furuno Searchlight Sonar? No. But at 1/20th the cost it is a useful tool.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 7, 2018)

4 Responses to “Simrad Forward Looking Sonar-A Winner”

  1. Robin Cook Says:


    My wife and I have become enamored with your posts, boats and experience. I’m sure you must get so, so, many notes like this but could we become correspondence friends with you regarding the FPB’s and your life experience? We are approaching the next phases of our lives and are looking for a long life together like you and your wife have experienced.

    The FPB side of this is amazing. The yacht is truly amazing and we are cautious but would love to learn more.



  2. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Rob:
    We are always happy to answer questions when time is available. For info on brokerage FPB’s we recommend you contact Sue Grant at Berthons. She has her finger on the pulse of what is available (Sue.Grant@Berthons.CO.UK).

  3. Victor Raymond Says:

    Hello Steve,

    My question is, will it help find a clear channel a boulder strewn narrow passage, like on the west coast of Baranof Island? Perhaps only a 3D system would do that effectively? Don’t know but sure would like to.

    Thank you,

    Victor Raymond

  4. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Raymond:
    For Baronof Island, say Secluded Cove, best bet is a true searchlight sonar like the Furuno CH270 which we had on Wind Horse and used in exactly that environment. The Simrad FLS is a less powerful, shorter range product. And it will help in the situation you describe. We put is aboard to test because the CH 270 was being replaced, but new models were not yet available.
    Combine the FLS with a depth trend record, watching the surface signs for shallows (in AK kelp), and going very slow are all part of the game.
    With the FLS we replaced the trainable antenna of the searchlight sonars by driving in and s-curve, to the sonar beam sweeps back and forth (like taxiing on down a runway in a tail dragger aircraft).