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Old 03-17-2015, 06:00 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by refugio View Post
And I've had vessels use it to hail me - much easier than "white power boat Northbound off of Point Watchamacallit".
One time I was transiting the front side of San Clemente Island, which the US Navy controls and sometimes closes (including surrounding waters) for "exercises". On that particular occasion, I listened for 10 minutes while the navy repeatedly tried to hail a cruise ship (and the Navy was identifying the ship only by its position, heading and speed, so it wasn't altogether surprising that the cruise ship wasn't responding, presumably because it didn't realize it was being hailed). When the cruise ship finally answered, the Navy directed a course change (something like "alter your course at least 20 degrees to port") and the cruise ship promptly complied. Within a minute or so, my AIS determined that the cruise ship had altered to a collision course with mine. So, I made a DSC call to the cruise ship (using its AIS-supplied MMSI) (likely causing its radio to beep -- not easy for the watchstander to miss) which was immediately answered, and we easily negotiated a crossing.
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Old 03-17-2015, 06:02 PM   #82
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But for 1/2 the cost of a boat unit, I can't see why anyone would want to.
Because half a boat unit buys a couple hundred gallons of diesel. And we can go a long, long ways and have a real great time on a couple hundred gallons of diesel.
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Old 03-17-2015, 07:39 PM   #83
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AIS a or b operates on the same receive protocol. It is the difference in transmission. A is almost instantaneous. B is up to 10 minutes delayed (more or less)
Just to be sure we are debating based on correct facts.... Class B transmits at 30 sec intervals when your boat is moving. If your boat is running at 2 kts or less then the report interval is 3 minutes. I don't believe there is any situation where it will be 10 minutes.

Class A transmits at between 2 and 10 second intervals depending on the boat's speed and rate of turn.

So there is a difference, but it's not that huge.
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:10 PM   #84
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Because half a boat unit buys a couple hundred gallons of diesel. And we can go a long, long ways and have a real great time on a couple hundred gallons of diesel.
But the more you travel, the more useful AIS becomes.

Of course it's not always a great time - here's the record of me being almost run down by "Full House" a little over a year ago. Note the arrow straight course and 25.6 knots - he blasted by my 7 knot trawler with a separation of less than 20 feet.
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:21 PM   #85
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The more you travel in heavy commercial lanes in restricted vis the more it becomes useful.....but not necessarily all the time for everybody.

In light traffic, mostly recreational areas...like the Atlantic ICW....while it gives a bit of info every once in awhile....I haven't seen a moving target on mine for days and hundreds of miles.

I don't think anyone would say they are useless..but for many of us they are just WAYYYYYY down on the must have ladder.
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:38 PM   #86
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British Columbia Ferries

Anybody know if they're monitoring Class B AIS?
Yes, they have had me spotted on several occasions whether in lower mainland or around Prince Rupert. Given their recent record of sinkings and hard and missed landings lots of press out to "make them safer."

BTW, the new cable ferry between Vancouver Is and Denman is nearing completion. I do not know if they will monitor AIS very frequently.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:26 PM   #87
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Yes, they have had me spotted on several occasions whether in lower mainland or around Prince Rupert. Given their recent record of sinkings and hard and missed landings lots of press out to "make them safer."
Thank you! I've been wanting to know this for some time!
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:28 PM   #88
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But the more you travel, the more useful AIS becomes.

Of course it's not always a great time - here's the record of me being almost run down by "Full House" a little over a year ago. Note the arrow straight course and 25.6 knots - he blasted by my 7 knot trawler with a separation of less than 20 feet.
A$$hole.jpg

I love it!
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:49 PM   #89
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Marin: I agree with most of what you are saying however, Ferries do move very quickly and come around Helen Pt., Active Pass and be an issue quite quickly and we don't have speed to get us out of a jam. AIS alerts us to their transit prior to radar or visual identification and gives us additional time to avoid conflicts. Active Pass is one area where AIS is most useful to us. Also, there was a commercial crabber, in Active Pass and BC Ferries hailed him. He was broadcasting AIS, and unfortunately he didn't respond (possibly an ethnic language barrier, I'm not sure). So while it didn't work in that case, ferries can use it to identify a vessel and contact it if required to assure a safe pass.


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Old 03-17-2015, 10:54 PM   #90
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I boat in the PNW and have had AIS for a few years now. While it's not a necessity, I would never give it up. It seems that whenever it's foggy, I always end up in one of the ferry routes, and that's when I really appreciate it most. Obviously, radar is more important and I'm concerned with all traffic, but it's the ferries I'm most worried about. They're big and fast. If they hit you, it's pretty much over, so I want to know exactly where they are and where they're headed.

Important for passes too. Often, you (or your radar) can't see around the corners and who's to know what's around the bend? This is especially true of Wasp Passage. It's very narrow and ferries don't seem to slow down one bit. With closing speeds of 25-30 knots, I'm not too interested in sharing that narrow space with them. In fact, a couple of times when my AIS told me that they were either in the Passage, or about to enter it, I just slowed down, or stopped and waited until they went through before I entered.

AIS has been worth every penny to me.
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Old 03-18-2015, 12:41 AM   #91
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AIS usefulness depends somewhat on the usage in your area. Here are the vessels around Seattle as of right nowClick image for larger version

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Old 03-18-2015, 12:51 AM   #92
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I suppose if one runs their boat in the same lanes the ferries use there's good reason to be worried. We don't so we aren't. In our experience there is more than enough room in Active Pass, Wasp Passage, etc to go through them with no danger of occupying the same lane, as it were, with a ferry if one comes through. We also aren't real paranoid about being in fairly close proximity to other vessels if the visibility is sufficient.

Sorry, but we just don't see the urgency or drama in the boating environment up here. The notion of vessels flying around corners and popping out of nowhere simply isn't the reality in our experience. In fact we find boating to be a very slow-motion experience with more than enough time to avoid traffic conflicts. Perhaps because we're comparing it to operating a floatplane in the same area, I don't know.

But we've never felt we were in peril from other traffic, at least not so far.
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Old 03-18-2015, 01:09 AM   #93
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In our area (Campbell River, Desolation Sound, The Broughtons, etc.) I've never felt the need for AIS as we tend to move on the water only when there is reasonable visibility. E.g., I would never knowingly go out in fog, although can deal with it if caught in it.

As it happens we are adding a second VHF to Blue Sky so have pretty much decided on a Standard Horizon GX2200 which comes with AIS. I'm looking forward to seeing the AIS transmitting vessels on the water and all of the info they provide.

Yes, we will be receiving only, but has been mentioned it will be nice to keep track of the big boys especially the ferry traffic, which can sometimes appear seemingly out of nowhere. Or suddenly pull out of their berth just as you are passing by.

Because the AIS in this form comes essentially free, I view it as an interesting addition rather than a necessary one.
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Old 03-18-2015, 03:34 AM   #94
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Just to be sure we are debating based on correct facts.... Class B transmits at 30 sec intervals when your boat is moving. If your boat is running at 2 kts or less then the report interval is 3 minutes. I don't believe there is any situation where it will be 10 minutes.

Class A transmits at between 2 and 10 second intervals depending on the boat's speed and rate of turn.

So there is a difference, but it's not that huge.

You are correct in the published transmission rates. However, in practice I have seen much longer delays. It may be antenna issues, or other interference. But, having seen numerous occasions showing great lagging in presentation there seems to be a larger gap between A and B. Of course my '10 minute' may just be exaggerated by wishing the info would update quicker.
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Old 03-18-2015, 07:07 AM   #95
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In our area (Campbell River, Desolation Sound, The Broughtons, etc.) I've never felt the need for AIS as we tend to move on the water only when there is reasonable visibility. E.g., I would never knowingly go out in fog, although can deal with it if caught in it.

As it happens we are adding a second VHF to Blue Sky so have pretty much decided on a Standard Horizon GX2200 which comes with AIS. I'm looking forward to seeing the AIS transmitting vessels on the water and all of the info they provide.

Yes, we will be receiving only, but has been mentioned it will be nice to keep track of the big boys especially the ferry traffic, which can sometimes appear seemingly out of nowhere. Or suddenly pull out of their berth just as you are passing by.

Because the AIS in this form comes essentially free, I view it as an interesting addition rather than a necessary one.
after a winters cruising with the same radio....as I posted earlier...,many a day has gone by with either not one signal or the few commercial vessels were snug in their slips. Plenty of traffic though...had it been foggy though, it may have added some comfort...but in broad daylight and clear vis, all the ICW hogs managed near misses and forced me out of the channel anyway.

In many places the dangerous and unpredictable traffic doesn't transmit anyhow. In my world ferries announce leaving their berth and transmit safety info when turning into canals or departing breakwaters. With predictable speeds...even in fog ferries aren't a surprise for me. It's the big boys in the channel the use AIS...and it's easy to stay out of the channel.

My biggest worry is the guy in the 26 foot tug, pushing a 100 foot barge. He is not required to have a captains license, the tug might be a total shambles and a handful to operate, he might not be able to see around the crane on deck, no watch on the barge a d operating the same tight areas I may be running. Definitely no AIS onboard either.

So while I enjoy the AIS in my radio, after 2000 miles of busy waterways, it has proven itself to just where I thought it would.....till it is required for virtually everyone....the old methods of avoiding traffic are satisfactory u less you specifically travel in lanes by traffic that is required to have it and in lower than optimal visability.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:17 AM   #96
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after a winters cruising with the same radio....as I posted earlier...,many a day has gone by with either not one signal or the few commercial vessels were snug in their slips. Plenty of traffic though...had it been foggy though, it may have added some comfort...but in broad daylight and clear vis, all the ICW hogs managed near misses and forced me out of the channel anyway.



In many places the dangerous and unpredictable traffic doesn't transmit anyhow. In my world ferries announce leaving their berth and transmit safety info when turning into canals or departing breakwaters. With predictable speeds...even in fog ferries aren't a surprise for me. It's the big boys in the channel the use AIS...and it's easy to stay out of the channel.



My biggest worry is the guy in the 26 foot tug, pushing a 100 foot barge. He is not required to have a captains license, the tug might be a total shambles and a handful to operate, he might not be able to see around the crane on deck, no watch on the barge a d operating the same tight areas I may be running. Definitely no AIS onboard either.



So while I enjoy the AIS in my radio, after 2000 miles of busy waterways, it has proven itself to just where I thought it would.....till it is required for virtually everyone....the old methods of avoiding traffic are satisfactory u less you specifically travel in lanes by traffic that is required to have it and in lower than optimal visability.

We had a situation last summer in pea soup fog in Browning Passage where a small tug and tow wasn't broadcasting AIS. We would have given him more room if we had known he had a tow. However, a bigger problem was the sport fishing charter boat traveling at 25 kts that we watched on radar wondering what-in-the-hell to do. We throttled right back and watched,as he shot straight across our bow. While he didn't have AIS, the bigger problem was he was travelling far too fast for the low visibility situation and probably wasn't paying attention to his radar.


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Old 03-18-2015, 11:25 AM   #97
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WOW this thread took on its own life, almost as bad as anchors and rodes!

Marin brings up some good points if you are familar with the area. For me, I invested into the AIS system as another tool to "help" keep me, the Admiral, and ASD safe. Just another tool, like radar, VHF radio, MFD etc.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:34 AM   #98
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We had a situation last summer in pea soup fog in Browning Passage where a small tug and tow wasn't broadcasting AIS. We would have given him more room if we had known he had a tow. However, a bigger problem was the sport fishing charter boat traveling at 25 kts that we watched on radar wondering what-in-the-hell to do. We throttled right back and watched,as he shot straight across our bow. While he didn't have AIS, the bigger problem was he was travelling far too fast for the low visibility situation and probably wasn't paying attention to his radar.
True, AIS doesn't help track boats that do not have it installed. And the 25 kts charter boat would probably be Class B if she did have it - the only useful info might be the names / MMSI for hailing.

Really, AIS doesn't help with most traffic you encounter. But it helps with the larger, commercial, and essentially more predictable vessels - taking them off of your list of things to worry about.
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Old 03-18-2015, 02:45 PM   #99
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British Columbia Ferries

Ah. Did you mean to imply they had something to do with the Empress of the North incident?

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Old 03-18-2015, 03:17 PM   #100
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For the record I have a class B transponder that I will be installing aboard Stillwater for our passage from Ketchikan to SF Bay. I'm unfamiliar with the route and figured I could use all the help I can get. I'm hoping it will be useful both in the busier areas around Vancouver Island and the north end of Puget Sound, as well as the coastal passage where we'll probably only see the occasional ship - but not want to miss it when there is one. Well, actually we will want to miss it. You know what I mean...
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