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Old 01-21-2013, 08:27 PM   #41
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so what i am getting from your posts is that most of the hazards out there don't have ais so maybe for now the $200 would be better spent on other more important items?



Did you.check your area on the AIS site I showed on my first reply? That will show you what is in your area. Then then you have a better idea.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:24 PM   #42
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Did you.check your area on the AIS site I showed on my first reply? That will show you what is in your area. Then then you have a better idea.
yes thank you. I can spend lots of time exploring the many options at that site. I see they are even giving away ais equipment in areas they need coverage
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:30 PM   #43
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yes thank you. I can spend lots of time exploring the many options at that site. I see they are even giving away ais equipment in areas they need coverage

Wow! I did not see that! I often bring up the site to see what is out there especially during storms. Another site I like is National Data Buoy Center National Date Buoy which tells the wind speed, wave height, wave period and the air temp. Between the AIS and the buoy, you have a good idea of what is out there.

The reason we will get AIS is because we plan on cruising in some areas that we can not get Verizon internet service. We need a new another VFH for back up, so may as well get the greatest and latest.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:40 PM   #44
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There are also "Virtual" AIS targets starting to be deployed. They are used to display hazards that are not currently on charts (reefs, wrecks, deadheads, etc. could all be assigned a virtual AIS beacon number (with an expiration)

Good article about it here: http://ezinearticles.com/?Virtual-AIS&id=1947322
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:36 PM   #45
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Just imagine how effective they would be if you had two radars!
Yes! great idea. Lots of people already have two engines so why not twin radar as well. Hummm....if two is better maybe we should have three???
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:50 PM   #46
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Wow! I did not see that! I often bring up the site to see what is out there especially during storms. Another site I like is National Data Buoy Center National Date Buoy which tells the wind speed, wave height, wave period and the air temp. Between the AIS and the buoy, you have a good idea of what is out there.

The reason we will get AIS is because we plan on cruising in some areas that we can not get Verizon internet service. We need a new another VFH for back up, so may as well get the greatest and latest.
looks good but I need to learn this site. How do you find wave height, period?
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:09 PM   #47
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Wave height and period are not available on all buoys. For those that have them, they're really handy. I use the one at Dungeness every time I make the crossing of the Straits. It's a great reference.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:13 PM   #48
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Wave height and period are not available on all buoys. For those that have them, they're really handy. I use the one at Dungeness every time I make the crossing of the Straits. It's a great reference.
thanks. I was looking at the one off the coast of oregon by reedsport but wasnt able to get any wave data. Sure would be nice. Of course it may be there i just havent figured out the site yet

what a dummy its there. Right now it is 5.2 and period 11sec. Station 46229
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:47 PM   #49
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So I used the search function and typed in AIS. No results. So I'm wondering do I need one of these?
We have so far found no need or value in adding AIS. Not that we don't feel the technology is great and can be extremely useful in some areas and situations. But so far we have not seen any need for it in the boating we do and the areas we do it in.

We don't run at night because of all the crap in the water in the San Juan's north into BC (don't know about the south Sound- our boat refuses to go there ).

If the visibility is poor and we are in a commercial shipping area we use Seattle, Victoria, or Vancouver VTS to be informed of potential traffic conflicts and to have the commercial vessels informed of our whereabouts and intentions. We are told that this makes the commercial folks a lot more aware of us and our whereabouts as opposed to hoping they'll notice us on their AIS displays unless we get real close and they're running a proximity alarm.

We do have an AIS receiver application in our iPad but so far its only value has been to tell us the "name of that ship over there."

We have a very good radar and monitor it all the time even in good visibility. So when the visibility drops we have no problem transitioning " to instruments" since we're running the boat that way anyway. So between the radar and VTS we have yet to be "surprised" by other traffic.

We do have a hole in our panel to fill. Right now it's occupied by a very good Furuno Loran-C unit that came with the boat. The three candidates for this spot are a second VHF, a weather (wind speed/direction) display, or an AIS.

The AIS is a very distant third. We just don't see it is contributing any information that we really need to know right now and we cannot conceive of any situation in our future boating here or on up into SE Alaska in which AIS would be important to have.

So, cool toy, valuable to have in confined waters like the ICW perhaps where there is lots of traffic, but it's nothing we view (so far) as being essential to recreational boating in this area. The prices have come down a lot but we'd rather put the money in the fuel tank.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:37 PM   #50
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We have so far found no need or value in adding AIS. Not that we don't feel the technology is great and can be extremely useful in some areas and situations. But so far we have not seen any need for it in the boating we do and the areas we do it in.

We don't run at night because of all the crap in the water in the San Juan's north into BC (don't know about the south Sound- our boat refuses to go there ).

If the visibility is poor and we are in a commercial shipping area we use Seattle, Victoria, or Vancouver VTS to be informed of potential traffic conflicts and to have the commercial vessels informed of our whereabouts and intentions. We are told that this makes the commercial folks a lot more aware of us and our whereabouts as opposed to hoping they'll notice us on their AIS displays unless we get real close and they're running a proximity alarm.

We do have an AIS receiver application in our iPad but so far its only value has been to tell us the "name of that ship over there."

We have a very good radar and monitor it all the time even in good visibility. So when the visibility drops we have no problem transitioning " to instruments" since we're running the boat that way anyway. So between the radar and VTS we have yet to be "surprised" by other traffic.

We do have a hole in our panel to fill. Right now it's occupied by a very good Furuno Loran-C unit that came with the boat. The three candidates for this spot are a second VHF, a weather (wind speed/direction) display, or an AIS.

The AIS is a very distant third. We just don't see it is contributing any information that we really need to know right now and we cannot conceive of any situation in our future boating here or on up into SE Alaska in which AIS would be important to have.

So, cool toy, valuable to have in confined waters like the ICW perhaps where there is lots of traffic, but it's nothing we view (so far) as being essential to recreational boating in this area. The prices have come down a lot but we'd rather put the money in the fuel tank.
Kill two birds with one stone and get a VHF with AIS built in. Very small premium. I can see its use up there in the islands, makes it easy to see that is a ferry on your radar, for instance and you hail it by name.

By the way, that Marine traffic site is fun, but it is not real time, is not for navigation and thus is not a substitute for an actual AIS system.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:54 PM   #51
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I can see its use up there in the islands, makes it easy to see that is a ferry on your radar, for instance and you hail it by name.
Makes sense but...... Never had a reason to hail a ferry by name, nor any commercial vessel for that matter that I can recall, in the 26 years we've been boating up here. If we ever did we'd know its position so could hail it that way.

Actually that's not true. We've hailed the Lady Washington a few times because I've worked with one of her skippers on a film shoot. But the Lady Washington is not a vessel that can be mistaken for any other.

It's true the app on our iPad does not update in real time but it updates automatically every two minutes and at our speed and the speeds of most of the commercial vessels around here and the distances we're dealing with that's a more than sufficient update rate to know what's around us and where it's heading.

If we add another VHF we might consider including the AIS function if it's an option but at this point we see no return on the investment for the reasons I've stated. Be a cute thing to have on the boat, no question, but as OFB said earlier, we get everything we need to know from the radio, the radar, and looking out the "dayum window."
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:57 PM   #52
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Marin said: "If the visibility is poor and we are in a commercial shipping area we use Seattle, Victoria, or Vancouver VTS to be informed of potential traffic conflicts and to have the commercial vessels informed of our whereabouts and intentions. We are told that this makes the commercial folks a lot more aware of us and our whereabouts as opposed to hoping they'll notice us on their AIS displays unless we get real close and they're running a proximity alarm." Calling the VTS makes the VTS and whoever they tell more aware, but if you are nearby, commercial traffic will probably already be doing a radar based collision avoidance assessment on you that may or may not trigger an alarm (depending on settings).

Marin said: "We do have an AIS receiver application in our iPad but so far its only value has been to tell us the "name of that ship over there." We have an AIS receiver, and its value is to tell us the location, speed and name of vessels that are operating in our area that are hidden from radar. It greatly improves situational awareness. Sure VTS monitoring can indicate relevant traffic, but knowing exactly where commercial traffic is located enhances our ability to navigate so as to ease any passing/meeting/overtaking situation. If you are navigating so as to stay clear of commercial traffic, Rule 9 narrow channels and Rule 10 shipping lanes, having an AIS transponder tends to be unneeded.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:04 PM   #53
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Where we think VTS becomes valuable is when there is an island or islands between us and the traffic. Radar won't be able to paint the vessels at that point but VTS will make everyone aware of who's where so there are no surprises up ahead. That's they way it's worked foe us, anyway, and it's been very helpful.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:05 AM   #54
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I think once you have AIS on your boat you appreciate it's usefulness more. I really appreciate it now that I'm on a slower boat. When crossing an active shipping channel it really helps knowing what's coming down the channel at ya and you really start to appreciate how fast some of those big guys are really moving.

Be careful with the Apps though. I've watched them side by side with the real AIS targets and they're always several minutes behind and often missing whole areas of traffic.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:53 AM   #55
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Oddly, most all AIS readouts I've seen for pleasure craft in the San Francisco estuary are those berthed or moored. ... Don't see a critical need for AIS by "dock queens."
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:08 AM   #56
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Thanks everyone. You've given me lots to think about. I like the idea of getting a AIS capable VHS. But I think first I'll upgrade my RADAR. (an older 16 mile Furuno now) And, I will certainly keep my dayum windows clean.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:34 AM   #57
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Oddly, most all AIS readouts I've seen for pleasure craft in the San Francisco estuary are those berthed or moored. ... Don't see a critical need for AIS by "dock queens."
I wouldn't call AIS a critical need by any means. It's just a great tool to see and be seen. I don't smoke or drink so I can justify my only real vice (boating) and buy the tools I wish to have.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:15 PM   #58
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I thought the same way as you Marin untill i read some of the comments by posters in this thread.
if my understanding after reading a very informative link provided by someone at this thread AIS contacts will give an alarm on the more sophisticated systems installed on the commercial vessels if a vessel is in the danger zone.. Also, hey guys correct me if i'm wrong, i get the impression its mounted outside and plugs into your chart plotter radar so no space is needed for it at your helm.
I really like the way a vessel shows up with this system and instantly marks your position with emergency services if you have an incident. This would enable faster response which may save your life if your sinking etc.
So, for $200 it sounds like a pretty cheap and very effective safety device as all coast gaud stations use this system.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:25 PM   #59
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bfloyd--- I don't believe the cheap $200 unit does all the stuff you list. I don't even know if the $200 unit is a transmitter. I suspect it's only a receiver. And it does not mount outside, it is another electronics box like a radio that you have to mount inside somewhere. So the cheap unit will show you what's out there but it won't display you on anyone else's AIS display.

Now I could very well be wrong on that, but when we looked into what it would take to get a full-function AIS it was not cheap. This is one reason we have rejected the idea, at least for now. In order to be "visible" to other vessels, which so far as we're concerned is the only real value we can see in the thing, it required a not-insignificant investment. And for our boating and where we do it, we do not see the benefit as being worth the cost. As a few others have said here, it's just another electronic gizmo to play with, one more temptation to keep your head buried in the panel instead of looking outside for crap in the water that could rip our shafts and V-struts out and sink the boat.

OFB boats in some of the most traffic-intense waters in the PNW--- the Fraser River and Vancouver harbor area. Amazingly he has managed to operate his boat up there and go places that 99 percent of most boaters here don't even know exist, and he's done it all without AIS. I think he's a pretty good example of boating reality around here.

So to us AIS is a cute toy for a recreational boat, but in no way anything we consider essential.

Mind you, I don't think AIS is a bad thing to have. If someone wants it and thinks it enhances their boating, great. If nothing else, it keeps the people making AIS units employed and that's always a good thing, right?

But for us and how we view our boating, a second VHF at the lower helm would be of more value to us at this point if we were going to spend money on more instrumentation. Or an EPIRB although until we start taking the boat into the more remote waters up the BC coast that is not something we view as essential. Same deal with satcom--- we intend to install it but not until we are ready to start taking the boat way up north.

But at this point we feel our boat has all the electronics we need with two full-size C-Map GPS plotters, an outstanding radar, an upgraded depth/speed/log/time display, an excellent panel mount VHF at the lower helm with another one up top, a very good handheld VHF, and an old but serviceable handheld GPS C-Map plotter.

So for now we prefer to put the money in the tank and take the boat out.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:43 PM   #60
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bfloyd--- I don't believe the cheap $200 unit does all the stuff you list. I don't even know if the $200 unit is a transmitter. I suspect it's only a receiver.
Our Raymarine AIS650 Class B Transceiver approx $900 - but to us, it was worth it!
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