Subscriber Discussion

Where To Put Cameras In A Marina?

Hi. I`m working on a project in a marina with 8 long floating jetties and several areas for winter storage of boats on land. My biggest problem is that there is nowhere to hang the cameras. No high buildings or light poles in the right place. Anyone here that had similar problems and came up with a good solution?

Use very long lenses on cameras mounted far away? Is here any high point or tall buildings farther away?

Btw, we have a tutorial on marine surveillance systems. It might be helpful as a general guide though it does not cover this point.

Do you have latitude to install poles specifically for surveillance equipment?

Thank you John and Brian for getting back to me so fast.

I got only a few high points I can use, where I will use some cameras with zoom lenses and some PTZ cameras. But this will only give good angles on two of the eight floating docks. Some of the buildings on land are suitable for mounting cameras on now in the summertime, but in the winter when all boats are put on land here i the freezing north the cameras will be blocked/covered by boats.

Here is a overview of the marina:

To the right is the mainland, and to the left is an island. Boats can get in both north and south of the marina.
I added some comments in the picture and marked all the floating docs D1 to D8.

Dock D1 to D7 on the west side is hard to cover from the pole on the east side, because of big boats and houseboats at the end of the docs.

I was thinking the best way to go is one of the following:


Set up poles on land.
One between D1 and D2 with one camera for each dock.
Then D3, D4, D5, D6 and D7 will have one pole each with a camera filming down the center of each floating dock.

D8 will be covered from the pole on the East side.


Set up poles in the middle of each floating dock and one camera point towards land and the other pointed at the end of the dock.
But I don't know how I can build solid/stable poles with a decent height on the middle of a floating dock.


Then the last challenge is how to identify thieves coming in from the sea. With cameras on land it will be impossible to identify anyone at the other end of the dock. For example D3 is 135 meters long. Is also most likely something here is going to happen in the dark, making it even harder to see and identify.

Fredrik, we have a primer on selecting poles for surveillance cameras that might help. Since poles, especially poles on floating docks, are out of my expertise, I am not going to speculate here.

As for thieves coming in from the sea, that strikes me as hard. Darkness, as you mention, is a big concern. Thermal would help with the darkness but not in terms of identifying whether a boat is friend or foe. Which begs the question, how do you know if a boat is a thief or not?

btw, how are you getting power and signal to the camera locations? I could see this being a big logistical complication.

Thieves are very determined and coming in by boat is pretty common in the marine industry. There are lots of electronic systems on very unsecured boats. We have a larger ex navy Shipyard where the copper miners come in by boat almost as often as by land. Way to much shore line to cover but for a smaller marina a IR beam system might work in addition to cameras if you have a narrow breakwater entry and an on site resident.

And I suppose this is on the cheap too?

Thanks again.

The "Surveillance Pole Selection Guide" got some good information.

I got power available almost on every dock, and I was thinking of using wireless point to multipoint (Ubiquiti) for signal.
Its not much interference in the 5.8Ghz area zone, so I think this will be OK.

When it comes to determining if a boat is friend or foe I would say its impossible to know before something has happened.
But what I like to achieve is to get some usable footage of all boats entering the marina. So the day someone finds their boat or engine missing we can go back and track down anyone that entered the marina for the last 24 hours.

What about using one thermal camera and one PTZ with IR to cover the way in. I would then want the motion detected by the thermal camera to control the PTZ. Any suggestions on a video analytics solution that can do this?

I would also like some specific recommendations on IR beam systems like Mark is talking about.
In this marina there are two ways in from the sea. One is 100 meters wide and the other 140 meters.

If i can get good detection on all boats entering the marine from both sides, I can then set up notifications by SMS if someone enters the marine at times where there usually are no traffic. With remote view and PTZ cameras the operator can determine if there is something suspicious going on.

"What about using one thermal camera and one PTZ with IR to cover the way in. I would then want the motion detected by the thermal camera to control the PTZ. Any suggestions on a video analytics solution that can do this?"

SightLogix has some pretty good demo videos of both PTZ tracking and boat tracking with their cameras, and their analytics are highly rated.

Hai Fredrik,

Use radar to monitor the sea side entrance (e.g., Senstar) through which we can get alert any boat entring the client territory area and do integration with SMS

And u can use microwave/beam detector as second level of alert at two ways from the sea...

Using radar u can identify any boat in long distance and reset should be managed by operation what you want todo ....

Honeywell has a radar camera, don't know anything about it but saw it on their website.

Also consider camera / pole position in regards to sunrise & sunset. Directing the line of sight so that glare and sun wash out is as important. Perpendicular positions to the sun would help but not always avaialble. Cross coverage is critical.

FD: I am CEO of MicroPower, a manufacturer of wireless solar powered cameras. Very interesting points have been raised about camera placement and required infrastructure. You might also consider ultra low-power solar cameras with small solar panels so that you can place them anywhere that you don't have access to power. Feel free to check out our specs.

Hi Aaron.

Your solar powered cameras looks interesting, but are your housings, brackets and solar panels made of materials that will survive the harsh enviorments close to the sea?

Hello Fredrik,

We are IP66 compliant like most outdoor cameras. We have had a camera about 50 feet from SD Harbor (separated by sand) for the last two years with no problems. Let me know if I can connect you to one of our sales engineers.

Fredrik, btw, we have a new post on Micropower. Also compare to Dotworkz solar surveillance kit.

"We are IP66 compliant like most outdoor cameras."

FWIW, IP compliance means very little in harsh marine environments. IP rating refer to water/dust/etc. ingress, but do not specify any particular housing materials, or finish coating methods. You can have an IP66 camera made out of zinc with a cheap finish and almost watch it deteriorate before your eyes in a salt-air environment. Nothing will hit the interior of the housing, at least not at first, until the housing is eaten away...

I don't meant this to pick on Micropower specifically, just a note to be aware that choosing equipment in some of these environments goes FAR beyond IP66...

To address the topic directly, this is going to be a challenging situation. It has also been my experience that the layout of boats in seasonal dry-dock is constantly changing, so you really need to get a good perimeter coverage, and cameras up on poles high enough to deal with the typical obstruction. A "standard" 40ft salon cruiser to flybridge cruiser can easily sit 20' above ground by the time it is laid up.

I've done a few yacht club and marina layouts, it's important (IMO) to have a good understanding of the norm for that environment, and also important for the property owner to understand the limitations of the camera system and how that might affect where they place particular boats to allow the cameras to be most effective.