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Old 10-20-2015, 04:06 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by BlueYonder View Post
I have a receive only setup. It came with my VHF radio and does supply interesting information. At night or in reduced visibility, the AIS information is a nice add on to the radar.

I question why so many boaters don't seem to be able, or know how to turn their AIS transmitters off. I went into Baltimore a couple of weeks ago and had over a dozen AIS collision warnings on my plotter. All from docked boats.
Some AIS units cannot be turned off.

I question why so many boaters don't seem to be able, or know how to adjust the settings on their plotter to not display a collision warning from a boat that is not underway and transmitting a 0 knots AIS signal.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:16 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Marin View Post
+2. Have not seen any practical value for it for recreational cruising in the region where we boat. If the boat had one we'd use it simply because it would be another cool electronics toy to play with.
I have been boating off shore since the early '70s. Can't tell you how many times over the years I heard that with regard to:

VHF radios
Lorans
GPS
Chart Plotters
Radar
Epirbs

Hang around long enough and AIS will be as common as chart plotters on boats. While I'm not a betting man, think it would be a pretty safe bet that most navigational aids will be replaced by AIS virtual aids on a chart plotter screen in 10 to 20 years maybe sooner. Cost savings and the easy to adjust their position as necessary, make them an obvious choice.

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Old 10-20-2015, 09:00 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
I have been boating off shore since the early '70s. Can't tell you how many times over the years I heard that with regard to:

VHF radios
Lorans
GPS
Chart Plotters
Radar
Epirbs

Hang around long enough and AIS will be as common as chart plotters on boats. While I'm not a betting man, think it would be a pretty safe bet that most navigational aids will be replaced by AIS virtual aids on a chart plotter screen in 10 to 20 years maybe sooner. Cost savings and the easy to adjust their position as necessary, make them an obvious choice.

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Old 10-20-2015, 09:03 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
I question why so many boaters don't seem to be able, or know how to adjust the settings on their plotter to not display a collision warning from a boat that is not underway and transmitting a 0 knots AIS signal.
It's simply a POV issue - some people think the world revolves around them, others not so much. At one time they also thought the world was flat...


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Old 10-20-2015, 09:03 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post

Hang around long enough and AIS will be as common as chart plotters on boats.
AIS is the same as transponders in aviation although aviation transponders pre-date AIS by several decades. So I've been using this type of technology since the early 70s. It certainly has it's place in aviation but for some aspects of aviation it's not needed nor required.

Boating is no different.
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Old 10-20-2015, 09:16 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Marin View Post
AIS is the same as transponders in aviation although aviation transponders pre-date AIS by several decades. So I've been using this type of technology since the early 70s. It certainly has it's place in aviation but for some aspects of aviation it's not needed nor required.

Boating is no different.
A lot of equipment isn't needed constantly. It's that one time it comes in handy and you're very glad you had it.
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Old 10-20-2015, 09:19 PM   #27
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Not using your AIS

My bilge pump isn't "needed or required", but I'm keeping it anyway. But that's just me...


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Old 10-20-2015, 09:35 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
Some AIS units cannot be turned off.

I question why so many boaters don't seem to be able, or know how to adjust the settings on their plotter to not display a collision warning from a boat that is not underway and transmitting a 0 knots AIS signal.


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Old 10-20-2015, 09:53 PM   #29
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A lot of equipment isn't needed constantly. It's that one time it comes in handy and you're very glad you had it.
Sure. I can come up with all sorts of scenarios where we would be better off it we had on our boat:

A rail-launched, self-righting lifeboat similar to what is carried on the sterns of ships these days.
A few auto-deploy liferafts with canopy and survival gear and provisions for a week or two.
Survival suits for every person on the boat.
A parachute drogue.
A collision mat.
An EPERB
A personal locator for every person on the boat to wear at all times.

But somehow I don't think any of this with perhaps the exception of the EPERB is really relevant to the boating we do on the inside waters of NW Washington and BC.

If we made regular trips across to Hawaii or the southwestern Pacific or Asia, sure, a lot of that list would become very relevant.

One of the things I often find amusing on forums like this is the armchair-theorizing about all kinds of disastrous things that could happen and all the equipment one needs to be ready for it. There is very often an extreme disconnect between the theorizing and the reality of recreational boating.

The implication that if one is going to take a boat up the Inside Passage to Alaska, for example, one needs a veritable barge-load of safety equipment in order to have any hope of surviving the trip is totally unrealistic. I think the armchair crowd would be somewhat shocked to see the kinds of boats and the way they are outfitted that make this run on a regular or seasonal basis with no disastrous events of any kind and no need for all the whiz-bang equipment so many people seem to think one should have before even contemplating leaving their home slip.

Could real bad things happen? Of course. A person could have a grand piano fall on them as they walk down a city street, too. Life is a constant appraisal of risk and reality and making judgements and subsequent decisions accordingly. Some people assume every possible bad thing is going to happen to them, some think nothing bad will ever happen to them, and some have the ability to make rational and logical risk assessments based on reality.

AIS is a terrific tool if you need it. If you don't need it, you don't need it. The fact that it exists does not mean that boating without one is deadly dangerous. So far we have not needed it. If the day comes that we do need it, we'll get it. But so far we've not encountered a scenario in our boating in our region where an AIS would have made a lick of difference in what we did with the boat or how we did it.

I'm not anti-AIS. I simply see no need to buy something I currently don't need. Like a rail-launched, self-righting lifeboat on our stern. It would be way cool to have one, but I rather doubt we'd ever need it unless our boat was attacked by a really pissed off sperm whale.....
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:03 PM   #30
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Sure. I can come up with all sorts of scenarios where we would be better off it we had on our boat:

A rail-launched, self-righting lifeboat similar to what is carried on the sterns of ships these days.
A few auto-deploy liferafts with canopy and survival gear and provisions for a week or two.
Survival suits for every person on the boat.
A parachute drogue.
A collision mat.
An EPERB
A personal locator for every person on the boat to wear at all times.

But somehow I don't think any of this with perhaps the exception of the EPERB is really relevant to the boating we do on the inside waters of NW Washington and BC.

If we made regular trips across to Hawaii or the southwestern Pacific or Asia, sure, a lot of that list would become very relevant.

One of the things I often find amusing on forums like this is the armchair-theorizing about all kinds of disastrous things that could happen and all the equipment one needs to be ready for it. There is very often an extreme disconnect between the theorizing and the reality of recreational boating.

The implication that if one is going to take a boat up the Inside Passage to Alaska, for example, one needs a veritable barge-load of safety equipment in order to have any hope of surviving the trip is totally unrealistic. I think the armchair crowd would be somewhat shocked to see the kinds of boats and the way they are outfitted that make this run on a regular or seasonal basis with no disastrous events of any kind and no need for all the whiz-bang equipment so many people seem to think one should have before even contemplating leaving their home slip.

Could real bad things happen? Of course. A person could have a grand piano fall on them as they walk down a city street, too. Life is a constant appraisal of risk and reality and making judgements and subsequent decisions accordingly. Some people assume every possible bad thing is going to happen to them, some think nothing bad will ever happen to them, and some have the ability to make rational and logical risk assessments based on reality.

AIS is a terrific tool if you need it. If you don't need it, you don't need it. The fact that it exists does not mean that boating without one is deadly dangerous. So far we have not needed it. If the day comes that we do need it, we'll get it. But so far we've not encountered a scenario in our boating in our region where an AIS would have made a lick of difference in what we did with the boat or how we did it.

I'm not anti-AIS. I simply see no need to buy something I currently don't need.
It's to each person what they feel they need. I agree with you on overreaction to some areas and some possibilities, but some need to be extra cautious for their own peace of mind. The inside passage is certainly not something we found threatening and we'd see enough on all the current Alaska television shows to not be surprised at the boats we saw, many of which I personally would be reluctant to leave the dock in.

On the other hand, I see people who stay put because of conditions we'd consider mild. I don't fault them though. That's what they're comfortable doing. A lot of benefit is not quantifiable nor does it even have to be logical and objectively supported. If it allows someone to enjoy their boating better then that's a real benefit.

As to AIS, I'm not sure it's done anything for safety on the water to this point. It's too inconsistently used plus there are so many other tools. To this point it's generally given us additional information which we really had no use for. Finding the detailed information on the boat you'd already decided to let pass in front of you is nice, but really does nothing for you.

One day though we'll all take AIS for granted. Doesn't mean we'll be safer boaters. However, a future generation of boaters will feel something important is missing if they don't have it.
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Old 10-21-2015, 12:13 AM   #31
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The thing I find most useful about AIS is the 'point of closest approach' graphic. The screen shows heading vectors for my boat and others, and indicates the position when the boats will be closest together, and shows how far apart that is. If I see someone without AIS that is heading my way than I acquire the target on the radar screen and shortly afterwards AIS-type info pops up on the nav screen - speed, heading and point of closest approach graphic. Not necessary, but convenient. If I figure that I would rather be a bit further away from them then tweaking the autopilot a few degrees to achieve that is simple to do. At times I will slow down or speed up to effect separation.

If you are seldom in areas where convergent traffic occurs then this feature of AIS is something you wouldn't use. For me, entering the Brisbane River from Moreton Bay, entering channels around the bay or heading for some anchorages within the bay it is something I use a lot even if there is good visibility.

A bit of nitpicking, only one E. EPIRB = Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon

I have the prescribed EPIRB for the boat, and also for the tender as it is mandatory for the tender as well if it is more than 3nm from the boat and I'm beyond smooth waters. But I also have a personal one for my own life-vest, with GPS. The latter functionality costs a little extra but takes 'search' out of search and rescue. If I ever need the thing I want rescue fast! As soon as personal sized AIS transmitters are cheaper I'll add them to a few other life-vests as well. And if I plan a cruise with much in the way of overnight legs then I'll get at least one so whoever is on watch has it. It can only be a matter of time before the offshore sailing racers make them standard equipment, and I'm hoping an expanded market will see prices tumble.
AIS MOB Devices

In the cold waters of the PNW and BC coasts, if people are going to be wearing life jackets for safety anyway then having an AIS MOB device attached to it makes a lot of sense to me. You have to get the MOB out of the water fast, and even in daylight if visibility is poor or there are whitecaps etc then finding the MOB really quickly is vital and may not be as simple as during your practice sessions. And yes, you probably also hit the MOB button on your chartplotter immediately, so an AIS MOB device isn't necessary... Each to their own.
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Old 10-21-2015, 03:25 AM   #32
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Brian,

Agree with all your comments, particularly the point about personal Epirb attached to your jacket. Earlier this year when we did our Bass Strait crossings, which involve a full night at sea , usually in rough conditions , every crew member was required to wear their inflatable life jacket with Epirb attached , even when off watch and having a sleep. If things are going to go wrong , they usually happen quickly and last thing you want to be doing is finding jackets etc in the dark. As soon as daylight came and conditions were suitable off they came. We also have the ditch bag and torches, and life ring with drouge at hand ready to go also. I know it is a bit off topic but in mind it is critical to be prepared.

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Old 10-21-2015, 07:54 AM   #33
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I've noted that some boaters don't always use their AIS when underway. So, why have it and not use it? Is it perceived as an invasion of privacy?
Good Question.
I presume you're referring to AIS transmitters.
Why would anyone buy a AIS tranamitter if you're concerned with privacy.
If money were no object I would have one. I have a receiver. The safety of others displaying my position far out weighs privacy concerns in my opinion.
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Old 10-21-2015, 07:57 AM   #34
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Some AIS units cannot be turned off.

Yep. Our AIS can only be turned off at a breaker (and that happens to be the same breaker for our plotter) which requires a slight bit of furniture movement.

No hard switch on the AIS unit (and it's buried somewhere under our helm anyway) and no soft switch on the plotter. So when we're at the dock, sometimes I remember, sometimes not...

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Old 10-21-2015, 09:39 AM   #35
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I have an AIS receiver only and use it whenever I use my nav PC. One reason for not getting a transponder was definitely a concern about privacy. My wife and I usually boat together. Our kids are no longer at home. When we are boating our house is more vulnerable to burglary. Broadcasting that we are away via AIS locally and on the web is too great of a risk for me. For these same reasons, we do not post our activities that take us away from home on social media in real time. Some criminals are quite resourceful.
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Old 10-21-2015, 10:03 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Marin
If the boat had one we'd use it simply because it would be another cool electronics toy to play with.
Like this 27 footer?
Any more toys and he'll need a bigger boat.
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Old 10-21-2015, 10:16 AM   #37
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Some interesting points of view. I bought and installed an AIS transponder before bringing Stillwater down from Ketchikan to San Francisco. Despite only being the Inside Passage we ran into some very rough conditions in Chatham Sound coming from Ketchikan to Prince Rupert Island. Winds were 50kt gusting to 56kt (per the coastguard) and waves 18'. We called the coastguard to find out if condx were going to change. They told me they could see us on AIS. That made me feel a lot better - knowing they were tracking us. Shortly after a tug hailed us, he had heard the conversation and could also see us on AIS. He recommended a quicker route into Prince Rupert Island that he was about to take. He could see where we were and offered to guide us in. This saved us about 2-3 hours out in the rough weather.

Here in SF bay it is often very busy. I find AIS and the closest approach feature very handy when there are multiple large vessels involved. For the price I think it's a great tool.

I'm not worried about privacy since I'm choosing to share the data. Also, since Stillwater is my home I don't have to worry about being burgled while I'm out - unless they're pirates of course!

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Old 10-21-2015, 10:48 AM   #38
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Despite only being the Inside Passage we ran into some very rough conditions in Chatham Sound coming from Ketchikan to Prince Rupert Island. Winds were 50kt gusting to 56kt (per the coastguard) and waves 18'. We called the coastguard to find out if condx were going to change. They told me they could see us on AIS. That made me feel a lot better - knowing they were tracking us. Shortly after a tug hailed us, he had heard the conversation and could also see us on AIS. He recommended a quicker route into Prince Rupert Island that he was about to take. He could see where we were and offered to guide us in. This saved us about 2-3 hours out in the rough weather.
Richard, you have just presented the best argument for AIS and anyone who has been in a traffic management centre, like CCG or Vancouver traffic would agree, I think.

You only need to sit there for an hour to see how much time is wasted watching unidentifiable idiots putting themselves and others in harms way. I can see AIS being mandatory in the near future as a means of ID.
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Old 10-21-2015, 11:04 AM   #39
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My AIS is still in the store. I haven't seen the need of it yet.
So is mine, I updated the navigation soft ware, new charts that include Canada and west coast and bought a new pc that accepts AIS. As our old is 20 years old, and I still prefer and use as primary. Spent to much money on upgrading that I didn't have the money for AIS.

However I am still debating if AIS is necesary. Being old school I use the radar and the only boats I am interested is knowing and seeing are boats bigger than we are. I think all commercial boats ships are required, and they tend to follow be in the shipping line. There is also a web sight on line that shows world wide AIS, so you do not have to have AIS capablity.

When we install AIS it will be able to receive and send. Besides we are dock queens and only leave the dock in the daytime and nice clear, calm days.
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Old 10-21-2015, 12:07 PM   #40
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I can see AIS being mandatory in the near future as a means of ID.
Nobody can predict the future, but if AIS becomes mandatory I would not be surprised if this is enacted in the same manner as transponders in aircraft. Transponders are mandatory for certain types of airspace. I can see AIS being used the same way. If one is going to operate in areas of high commercial traffic--- harbors, shipping lanes---I can see AIS becoming mandatory for use while in those waters.

But for operations outside those waters, I can see AIS not being mandatory.

And how will they deal with AIS in small boats? Will every RIB, 9-foot Livingston, 14 foot Lund skiff, etc. be required to have an AIS? How about paddleboarders? All these watercraft are certainly capable of operating in shipping lanes and busy harbors. Will VTS centers want their screens cluttered with dozens if not hundreds of targets?

When I lived in Hawaii I got to know a number of the air traffic controllers who worked in the tower at HNL and also at the ATC in Diamond Head. I don't know if they still do this, but they had their radar equipment adjusted to eliminate all targets moving less than 50 mph. If they hadn't done this, their screens would have been cluttered with cars on the freeways and nearby roads and boats in the waters off the south side of Oahu.

During the few years that SeaFlight operated a trio of Boeing hydrofoils between Oahu, Maui and Kauai the controllers hated it because when the boats accelerated past 50 mph leaving Oahu they suddenly appeared on the radar screens right in the middle of busy air traffic patterns in and out of HNL.

I can see the same thing happening with AIS. If every craft on the water has to have it, it's going to look like it's snowing on the VTS screens in some of the busier waterways and harbors.

It will be interesting to see how this technology evolves in its use.
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