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Old 09-06-2011, 11:22 AM   #21
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RE: Foggy

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bobc wrote:

I've got to get radar, or at least AIS.*** I could hear the Elwah sounding her horn, but only two of the recreational boaters (me, and one other) were sounding horns.
*Of the two, get radar.* I have yet to see any reason why AIS would be worth installing on our boat.* If we're in fog and in or approaching to cross a shipping lane we use the relevant VTS system-- Puget Sound, Victoria, or Vancouver--- to check in, tell them our intentions, and recieve radioed notices of nearby vessels.

Regarding fog horns, we have loud ones and we sound them per regulations when boating in the fog but we put no faith in them or anyone else's horn whatsoever.* We run from the lower helm only and with two engines under the floor there is no way we're going to hear another boat's horn, even a ferry unless it's right on top of us.* We have a loud hailer/intercom and in fog we turn on the forward station to make horns potentially hear-able at the helm but that doesn't give us any directional info.* If the fog is real thick and we're in a narrow passage used by a lot of boats and ferries one of us might go out on the foredeck to listen for horns.

But for the most part we rely on the radar.* We have a good one and in fog one of us cons the boat while the other one closely monitors the radar.* It's mounted so we can both easily see the screen but we feel more comfortable in the fog with one of us sort of dedicated to radar duty.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:45 PM   #22
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RE: Foggy

I have yet to see any reason why AIS would be worth installing on our boat.
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I would choose radar over AIS if I could only have one but I have found AIS very handy to have at times. As an example you can see a ship on AIS long before it will be picked up by radar. How you ask? Because if the ship is around the corner AIS will see it but you or your radar won't and you can get prepared to move out of it way. Agate Pass is a good example of where this is handy. You can see the BC ferries converging on you long before they are visible and move to one shore or the other without the panic you may have when there it appears, 100 hundred meters in front of you.

Another handy feature is that AIS will give you a converging distance (I can't remember the exact 3 letters) when you are in a crossing situation. You're watching the Washington State ferry coming at a right angle to you. If you hold course, will you pass in front of the ferry at a safe distance? AIS will tell you.

AIS was and maybe still is relatively inexpensive. I think I paid about $200 for the unit I bought from Milltech on Bainbridge Isl. It easily interfaced to my Furuno VX2 display.

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Old 09-06-2011, 10:29 PM   #23
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RE: Foggy

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windmist wrote:
You're watching the Washington State ferry coming at a right angle to you. If you hold course, will you pass in front of the ferry at a safe distance? AIS will tell you.

So will the ferry's position relative to the window frame in front of or*beside*me :-)

Or if it's foggy the EBL will tell me.

So far in some 24 years of boating up here (not all of it in the GB of course) we have yet to be "surprised" by a ship.* Our frequent runs to and from our property in the San Juans put us in narrow channels used by the ferries as well as other commercial vessels*and while we're often in fairly close proximity to them---*50 yards sometimes--- we've never had an issue with where are they, where are they going, should we cross them, and other such questions.* Same with the ships on their way to and from Vancouver, BC, Anacortes or Cherry Point.

We have not yet (never say never) had an occasion to say, "Gee, I wish we'd have known that guy was coming."* We've had ships appear around a corner but they're always in the lanes they're supposed to be in and they're moving slow enough-- even the ferries at 20 knots or whatever they run at--- that there is plenty of time to react unless one is being really dumb in an area frequented by commercial shipping and ferries.

So AIS for what we do in our waters seems a waste of money.* It doesn't give us any information that we need that we don't already get in other ways, and the information it gives us that we can't get in other ways--- the name of the ship and other data about what it is and what it's doing--- is information we have never had occasion to want.* We see it--- visually or on radar--- and we stay out of its way.* It's seemed pretty simple to us so far.

While we ARE looking for something to fill the hole in the panel currently occupied by our now-defunct Furuno Loran-C,* after consideration we*think we would find something like a second VHF*to be far*more useful to us than AIS at this point.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:19 PM   #24
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RE: Foggy

Fog on the Bay, Sept. 6:









*

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Old 09-06-2011, 11:24 PM   #25
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RE: Foggy

My preference is radar.* The only reason I would go with AIS in the short term is that it's cheap.* The new John Deere engine wasn't.

I have been surprised by big ships before.* One time, many years ago, I was in patchy fog in Rosario and I could hear something big, but I couldn't see it, and I couldn't localize the sound (I could hear both the horn and engine)* I was lucky to break into an open patch in time to see an oil tanker and adjust my course.

This weekend I did check with VTS, but never received info about the second ferry that was headed at me, or about the one that came out of the fog on my tail.* I was monitoring 05a the entire time.* Seattle Traffic only told me about the Elwah and the Victoria clipper.* I'm guessing that with AIS I would have known about the other two boats.*
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:22 AM   #26
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RE: Foggy

I use an iPad with "Ship Finder" when I'm in an area or a situation where knowledge of their location is helpful. If any vessel has AIS and it's on, I will know their location. Of course, radar is primary.
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:05 AM   #27
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RE: Foggy

I spent 1 1/2 days in dense fog on Lake Huron in May this year. Visibility was zero for hours at a time increasing on occasion to up to a mile.*This lake is filled with shipping lanes for upbound and downbound ocean freighters.* I ran with radar and chartplotter and decided the best strategy was to run about 1/4 mi outside and parallel to a shipping lane. A freighter is very easy to see miles away on radar, so its the smaller boats that required attention. The radar was able to detect bouys well in the distance.*
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:57 AM   #28
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RE: Foggy

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Marin wrote:.......after consideration we*think we would find something like a second VHF*to be far*more useful to us than AIS at this point.
* * * * I'd re-think that if I were you. A high quality handheld will suffice for a second VHF and an AIS that shows ships positions on your plotter is extraordinary. Being an instrument pilot* I'd think you would really want an AIS to improve you SA.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:22 PM   #29
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Foggy

Sorry, Walt, but I just don't see the value. Well, that's not correct, I see the value but I don't see that it gives us anything of importance that we don't already have. I don't need to see a ship's position on the plotter, I can see it on radar and correlate it to the plotter. The ships up here travel in very well defined corridors. It's not like the open ocean where they can head out in whatever direction makes the most sense to them. So I'm not going to encounter a bulk carrier in Thatcher Pass, Wasp Passage, or Mosquito Pass. The Washington State and BC ferries follow very specific routes. I'm not going to encounter one of then in Hale Passage. The smaller commercial vessels--- tugs and barges, landing craft, etc.--- are all over the place but they're slow and easy to see (visually or on radar) and avoid.

The boats that DO present a potential danger up here are the little sport fishing boats that zoom around at full throttle no matter what the visibility. And none of them are equipped with AIS so radar and luck are the only two things anyone has going for them in this case.

Other than some "nice to know" stuff I don't see that AIS gives me any "need to know" information that I don't already know.

Sure, if one is a gear junky and likes to have the latest gee-whiz screen gizmo AIS is undoubtedly way cool. One more thing to play with (and get all distracted by). I'm not that interested in gear for gear's sake. And there are probably boating regions where AIS would come in very handy. The ICW, perhaps, where everyone is crammed in with everyone else and knowing nearby vessel data could be a big help. But I just don't see how it would help us up here. A second VHF--- I don't mean a handheld with its little piss-ant antenna and low power but a real 25 watt VHF with a 24 foot antenna like our other radio at the helm--- seems a much more valuable addition. We have dual watch and tri watch but they're always switching over right when you don't want them to. So having one radio for general use and one uninteruptable on VTS or another commercial frequency would be something we could get some use out of, I think.


-- Edited by Marin on Wednesday 7th of September 2011 12:23:56 PM
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:50 PM   #30
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RE: Foggy

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Marin wrote:
" I don't need to see a ship's position on the plotter, I can see it on radar and correlate it to the plotter."

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That's quite a trick...to see a ship (Ferry) coming out from behind an Island!

I was on a ferry from Seattle to Bremerton a few months ago and as we passed through the narrow chanel just south of Bainbridge Island, we came dangerously close to a motoring sail boat that didn't know we were there. (I know, you never cruise that far south.)

*
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Old 09-07-2011, 04:30 PM   #31
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RE: Foggy

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SeaHorse II wrote:
That's quite a trick...to see a ship (Ferry) coming out from behind an Island.*
*If there's an island between us and the ferry, the ferry is not an issue :-)* And should the ferry come out from behind*the island, we'll see it, either visually or on radar.* And since we know where all*the ferry paths are in the area we boat in, we don't run in them. good visibility or bad.* We stay off to one side.** Seems dirt simple to me.*

Things just don't happen that fast on the water contrary to what a lot of people seem to think.* They do if you're going 30*knots but we're going eight.* With radar or our eyes, between the time you first see a ship--- assuming you're looking which we always are--- and the time there's even a potential for a problem there's time to play a round of bridge :-)

This whole thing*strikes me as being like people in an airplane when they see another airplane passing them on the airway but below or above them, or there is another plane on a parallel approach to the airport.* From what I hear people say, half the passengers panic that a mid-air is iminent.* I see and hear the same thing with boating--- if there is another vessel, particularly a large one, anywhere in sight people assume a collision is about to happen and it's amazing how many of them get all uptight if not begin to panic.

For people all caught up in their electronic gizmos and who boat with their heads burried in their screens I agree that AIS is proably a good idea since their awareness of what's going on around them is confined pretty much to what's on a display.* But for people who combine their electronics with basic looking out the window, knowledge of the waters and traffic lanes and patterns in their area, and the ability to see something--- on a screen or out the window-- and judge its speed and convergence relative to their own boat with reasonable accuracy, AIS doesn't seem to have much to offer.

Plus I have my own form of AIS in my wife, who's ability to see a distant ship or boat and judge its speed and projected path relative to our boat is uncanny.* I can only assume it's due to her Navy training and experience, an inherent, inherited*ability, or both.* On a couple of occasions I have used the radar to track a ship's convergence*with our path while she did it purely visually, calling out distances and estimating how our paths would cross.* I'm not going to say she duplicated the radar exactly because she didn't, but she was close enough that had we relied on her alone to avoid a potential confrontation with the ship, we would have succeeded.

So somone's going to have to make a lot stronger case than "we can see boats before they appear" before we'll consider AIS a worthwhile investment.
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:07 PM   #32
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Foggy

Quote:
SeaHorse II wrote:
That's quite a trick...to see a ship (Ferry) coming out from*behind an Island!
*Or what's on the other side of the bridge.

This ferry could "shoot out" anytime from the island.




-- Edited by markpierce on Wednesday 7th of September 2011 06:11:09 PM
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:18 PM   #33
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RE: Foggy

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This ferry could "shoot out" anytime from the island.



*Washington State and BC ferries are not going to "shoot out" from behind anything.* They're fast-ish, but not that fast.

As to the foot ferry in your photo, unless AIS has the ability to read a skipper's mind and so know in advance when he intends to cast off and leave, it's not going to give you any "shooting out" info, either :-)
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:32 PM   #34
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Foggy

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Washington State and BC ferries are not going to "shoot out" from behind
*On the Bay at 17:25 PDT, the various ferries were moving at 26.1, 7.3, 32.4, 35.1, 30.5, 0.0, 14.4, 22.8, 30.6, and 2.4 knots.* Some of those qualify for "shoot out" speed.


-- Edited by markpierce on Wednesday 7th of September 2011 06:34:05 PM
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Old 09-07-2011, 07:00 PM   #35
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RE: Foggy

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markpierce wrote:
*On the Bay at 17:25 PDT, the various ferries were moving at 26.1, 7.3, 32.4, 35.1, 30.5, 0.0, 14.4, 22.8, 30.6, and 2.4 knots.* Some of those qualify for "shoot out" speed.
*That's interesting to some people I guess but up here in Washington I'm not all that concerned about how fast the ferries on SFO bay go.* That's a bit like telling me that since the traffic on the M25 around London is at a total standstill (again) tonight*I should plan to take an alternate route home*from Boeing Field in Seattle to Sammamish east of Seattle :-)

No real relevance to whether or not AIS would do us any good on our boat in our waters.
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:17 PM   #36
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RE: Foggy

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Marin wrote:markpierce wrote:
*On the Bay at 17:25 PDT, the various ferries were moving at 26.1, 7.3, 32.4, 35.1, 30.5, 0.0, 14.4, 22.8, 30.6, and 2.4 knots.* Some of those qualify for "shoot out" speed.
*That's interesting to some people I guess but up here in Washington I'm not all that concerned about how fast the ferries on SFO bay go.* That's a bit like telling me that since the traffic on the M25 around London is at a total standstill (again) tonight*I should plan to take an alternate route home*from Boeing Field in Seattle to Sammamish east of Seattle :-)

No real relevance to whether or not AIS would do us any good on our boat in our waters.

*That was exactly my point, but from the opposite end.* By the way, I'm sans AIS on the boat.
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Old 09-08-2011, 10:45 AM   #37
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RE: Foggy

Before I had AIS I didn't see the need for it. Now that I have it, I wish I had had it sooner. We cruise from WA to BC and AK and it has vastly reduced the stress levels of meeting and crossing with large ships, tug and tows, cruise ships, and fast large yachts.

If you are getting a second VHF, Standard Horizon has the Matrix with a built in AIS receiver. It uses the same antenna as the VHF portion.

The AIS signal can be sent to a plotter or computer nav program.
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Old 09-08-2011, 01:46 PM   #38
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RE: Foggy

I've actually "researched" this to a degree by talking to a number of boaters I know who have installed AIS on their boats. Every one of them, so far, has said that while it's nice technology and neat to play with they have all concluded that it's in the "nice but not necessary" category of electronics. They don't regret buying it (it's cheap) but none of them say they have found any real value in it. This opinion has actually been seconded by a couple of marine electronics dealers I've talked to about it. We'd love to sell you one, they say, but we don't think you'll find it much use. So aside from the handful of people on this forum who say they like it, it seems so far to be a "cool toy" with regards to recreational boating. I can certainly see the value in the shipping industry, but for boats like ours it seems like putting a transponder on an ultralight.
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Old 09-08-2011, 02:07 PM   #39
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RE: Foggy

At this moment, there are about a dozen pleasure craft in San Francisco Bay with their AIS units broadcasting.* About half are docked or moored.* Just imagine the clutter of signals if a significant portion of the area's thousands of*pleasure boaters were using AIS.
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Old 09-08-2011, 02:17 PM   #40
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Foggy

A display like this would be nice.



*(Leaving Lisboa [Lisbon], Portugal.)


-- Edited by markpierce on Thursday 8th of September 2011 02:33:38 PM
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