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Old 10-21-2015, 12:49 PM   #41
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Not using your AIS

A few more anecdotes...

We've been called a couple of times by overtaking vessels to alert us to their intentions. A lot easier than figuring out if "vessel northbound off blah-blah point" is you.

And I've never been boarded since I installed an AIS transmitter. Not even approached. I wasn't exactly a LEO magnet previously, but...

And there was the time a couple of summers back when I responded to a distress call right at Boundary Pass (between US and Canada). I was at the vessel, we were smack dab in the boundary, and I wanted to know what my legal options for towing were. Victoria CG knew exactly where I was, and though it didn't come up - they would also know what I looked like.

But hey, if you want to go all stealth have at it.


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Old 10-21-2015, 12:53 PM   #42
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... 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...
In Februrary I visited the SF VTS on a trip organized by Al for the SF TF folks. They had only Class A targets showing on their main screens. They did have a separate Rosepoint application that also showed Class B targets. I suspect that Class A vs B would be part of the solution for keeping large commercial vessel traffic from becoming masked by smaller, pleasure boats.

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Old 10-21-2015, 12:54 PM   #43
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I see AIS as not being necessary in certain areas and being very helpful in others.

Here's a mixed one. You're in an area which is subject to some amount of piracy. AIS tells the pirates exactly what kind of boat is heading through and whether it's by itself. Great information for pirates. However, AIS also can assist authorities in locating the boat afterwards if the pirates don't disable it. Even if they do, at least you have a last known area.

We used AIS as we approached a shipping port like Golfito. We did not use it as we cruised off the coast of Central America for hours without another boat anywhere in sight. When a boat did enter our area then we'd identify it and either turn our AIS on or identify ourselves to them. But we cruised one night for 12 hours with no other boat on our radar or in the range of our AIS and we did not feel identifying ourselves wise in those conditions.

AIS is one of many reasons that our boat is not tied to us personally in a way to disclose who is on the boat.
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Old 10-21-2015, 01:04 PM   #44
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I suppose if I was transitting Haro Strait on a regular basis, or goofing around in the Fraser, I would have one. But as it is, I don't see the need. I get a pretty good picture of the traffic as I fly in and out of Vancouver a couple of times a week. It can be busy, but manageable with radar, visual and VHF.

I like that many recreational boat and yachts have them, as it is fun to see who is transitting up and down the Strait of Georgia past my house on Marine Traffic. So yeah, I can see the privacy issue for some.

Traffic in North America is nothing compared to the South China Sea or the Strait of Malacca. You can be in the middle of the South China Sea, and it looks like a city lit up at night. Wonder if AIS changes anything there...
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Old 10-21-2015, 01:47 PM   #45
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I suppose if I was goofing around in the Fraser...
I'd rather have something to detect the stumps coming at me just under the muddy surface.

Really though, at this stage AIS is more about having another tool in the box. You can choose to have it and choose to use it.

I've been in Chatham Sound with only a paper chart, compass and deviation table. Never had Loran because it meant buying new charts and it was accurately lousy anyway.

AIS is a tool that if I deemed it to be economical, I would get it for day to day and would certainly appreciate the security blanket effect in places like Dixon Entrance etc.
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Old 10-21-2015, 01:50 PM   #46
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For those of us who routinely cross between Canada and the US, AIS at the least nice and possibly imperative to have. As Refugio states, Homeland and both sides Customs and CGs are likely attuned to where and who we are. With continual watches for drug trafficking, terrorism and people trafficking the PNW is a busy watch place for us boarder crossers.

We renewed our NEXUS cards earlier this year in Blaine. Based upon what we were told and verified by others, AIS is part of the watch system and used as a Customs tool. Maybe BS but they for sure knew about AIS as a tracking aid.
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Old 10-21-2015, 02:06 PM   #47
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For those of us who routinely cross between Canada and the US, AIS at the least nice and possibly imperative to have. As Refugio states, Homeland and both sides Customs and CGs are likely attuned to where and who we are. With continual watches for drug trafficking, terrorism and people trafficking the PNW is a busy watch place for us boarder crossers.

We renewed our NEXUS cards earlier this year in Blaine. Based upon what we were told and verified by others, AIS is part of the watch system and used as a Customs tool. Maybe BS but they for sure knew about AIS as a tracking aid.
Most people forget just how much we are being routinely tracked. Otherwise they wouldn't do the stupid things they do.

I was in the N Van IGA recently and they have more cameras than the Bellagio. Unbelievable.
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Old 10-21-2015, 09:19 PM   #48
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We keep ours off except when our Navigation dictates it should be on like running the river systems or at night or well off shore but for hanging out on the ICW it stays off.
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Old 10-21-2015, 09:24 PM   #49
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Have a continual self-debate on AIS. Haven't seen the need. But if I operated during the night or in an area of frequent restricted visibility, that would push me "over the edge" and get it.

Saw this approaching directly a mile ahead. We each turned starboard a couple of degrees and had a perfect pass. No communication needed. A typical "engagement."



My usual "heads up" on commercial shipping in the San Francisco estuary, is to listen to USCG traffic control on channel 14.
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Old 10-21-2015, 10:06 PM   #50
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I was not planning on jumping into this discussion because each captain chooses how he wants to equip and operate his boat.


For ME, I like having AIS aboard and use it ALL of the time. CPA is helpful. Most of our trip this summer in NY and Canada, we found many tugs would not respond unless you called them by name - with AIS, I had that information. Radar is harder to tune and operate for me. Today, cruising down the Chesapeake, there were many sailboats who did not even appear on my radar. In the Hampton Roads channels with 40-50 boats moving, including a navy ship, a CG cutter, several tugs, tows, etc the AIS made it very helpful. A lot of triangles and dashed lines but more helpful than not. I very much like the feature that shows vessels coming up from astern show on the plotter as dotted lines coming up behind me (I cannot see astern from the helm).


When traveling with 1-3 other boats, I can touch on the triangle and see the distance, speed and course of the other boats at a glance.


I do have a switch to turn off the broadcast when docked but if my boat is underway, I am broadcasting and receiving.


Just my opinion and practice.
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Old 10-21-2015, 10:20 PM   #51
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Radar is harder to tune and operate for me.
For anyone interested in getting the most out of their on-board radar, there is a good book on the subject, The Radar Book, by Kevin Monahan. There are undoubtedly others but I found Kevin's very informative and useful.

My favorite radar book simply by virtue of being pretty cool is a copy of a radar operations book I came across shortly after acquiring our boat that was published and used by the Royal Navy in the UK. It is certainly interesting reading and extremely detailed but---- it was written in the days of green screen CRT hooded displays and big knobs to turn. Some of the information on using a radar has some relevance but the technology and display capabilities are totally out of date.
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Old 10-21-2015, 10:23 PM   #52
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Marin - Thank you
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Old 10-22-2015, 06:28 AM   #53
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I was not planning on jumping into this discussion because each captain chooses how he wants to equip and operate his boat.


For ME, I like having AIS aboard and use it ALL of the time. CPA is helpful. Most of our trip this summer in NY and Canada, we found many tugs would not respond unless you called them by name - with AIS, I had that information. Radar is harder to tune and operate for me. Today, cruising down the Chesapeake, there were many sailboats who did not even appear on my radar. In the Hampton Roads channels with 40-50 boats moving, including a navy ship, a CG cutter, several tugs, tows, etc the AIS made it very helpful. A lot of triangles and dashed lines but more helpful than not. I very much like the feature that shows vessels coming up from astern show on the plotter as dotted lines coming up behind me (I cannot see astern from the helm).


When traveling with 1-3 other boats, I can touch on the triangle and see the distance, speed and course of the other boats at a glance.


I do have a switch to turn off the broadcast when docked but if my boat is underway, I am broadcasting and receiving.


Just my opinion and practice.
One of the side benefits is spotting someone you recognize and getting together for dinner.

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Old 10-22-2015, 08:10 AM   #54
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I have it on my boat and a sportfisher I capt have only turned it of in fishing tormment s it's safety gear that works and you may not know how it saved you problems but it works
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Old 10-22-2015, 08:31 AM   #55
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We keep ours off except when our Navigation dictates it should be on like running the river systems or at night or well off shore but for hanging out on the ICW it stays off.
If I had a transmitter it would always be on even at anchor.

Last year in N.C. in a portion of the ICW that had many curves that restricted visibility to a few hundred yards, my AIS receiver alerted me to a commercial tug around the bend. I slowed so I would pass him in a portion of the river that had more visibility.
Just my experience.
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:24 AM   #56
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I well remember the furor that existed when car safety belts first came out. then motorcycle helmets, then airbags etc. Resistance to change is alive and well.
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:33 AM   #57
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I needed to replace an older VHF at the helm that was a back-up to my Icom M604. I looked at Icoms as I really liked their performance and noticed that the M506, for a bit more then $100 had a NMEA-2000 hook-up for a built in AIS receiver, as I already had a Garmin network with a 6212, 4210 and 3505 plotters hooked to the network it was an easy one cable hook up to add and AIS to the setup and only cost a tiny bit.

M506 VHF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

Forward 4 weeks later we were cruising back from south Fl. and on the ICW the unit alarmed with a notice of collision in 6 min as I was being overtaken by a 47' boat doing 35knts. With the name of the boat right there it was easy to call him and ask for a slow pass using the boat name and mentioning his overtake speed and letting him know just how far I was ahead of him i was, he responded immediately and gave a nice, well coordinated slow pass.


Worth every bit of the less then $150 I had into the receiver. Information is a good thing.


If you are in the market for a radio look into one with a built-in AIS receiver they are very reasonable and require no extra antenna or splitter and have a built-in display but can interface with most any plotter easily.
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Old 10-22-2015, 11:24 AM   #58
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...we were cruising back from south Fl. and on the ICW the unit alarmed with a notice of collision in 6 min as I was being overtaken by a 47' boat doing 35knts. With the name of the boat right there it was easy to call him and ask for a slow pass using the boat name and mentioning his overtake speed and letting him know just how far I was ahead of him i was, he responded immediately and gave a nice, well coordinated slow pass.
As well, human behavior being what it is, contact and identifying by name tends to be more effective in tempering the big wake, fast passers and rodeo clowns; if they have AIS.

As Marin (I think it was him) said, more effective than "the white whatever."
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Old 10-22-2015, 11:55 AM   #59
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I well remember the furor that existed when car safety belts first came out. then motorcycle helmets, then airbags etc. Resistance to change is alive and well.
The furor was never over their existence or availability. The furor was over their being made mandatory. It was a resistance to nanny-state mentality, not the seatbelts, helmets, etc. themselves.
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Old 10-22-2015, 12:07 PM   #60
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I agree we have enough regulations and requirements as it is, let us decide what makes sense as to the needs of our particular boating areas.

I don't want to be required to have an EPIRB as I don't operate out of the sight of land, it would bug the crap out of me if .gov made them mandatory. Others, and I would agree find them to be a must given the boating they do.

In Fl. the same year that seat-belts became mandatory the infinite stupidity changed the motorcycle helmet law making them optional both went into effect on the same day. Go figure.

As Jimmy Buffet says "I don't need that much organization in my life"
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