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Old 01-20-2013, 01:03 PM   #1
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AIS systems

So I used the search function and typed in AIS. No results. So I'm wondering do I need one of these? Since I will boat in Puget Sound me-thinks it might be nice if those tankers know I'm out there. Last fall we sailed from Pt. Townsend to the Ballard locks at night and it sure was nerve wracking coming down, whilst staying out of the shipping channel (most of the time). We were (only) warned by the CG once. It was really dark, with no moon I had a hard time a few times trying to decifer the long boats lights myself.

Anyway, whatdo y'all use?
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:30 PM   #2
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Again... I opted for the Garmin unit. I have the AIS 600 Class B transceiver. It's a really nice N2K compatible device and transmit/receive is a bit part of why I chose the 600. It's nice knowing where they are, but even better knowing that they know where I am.

Lot's of debate on the value of a transceiver over a receive-only unit, but that's for each to decide I suppose. Can't go wrong with garmin in my opinion. Very good quality and large support network in place.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:38 PM   #3
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I have the AIS 600 Class B transceiver.
We have a Garmin 600 also.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:44 PM   #4
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The only close call I have ever had was at night, off Thrasher Rock, with a big fishboat bearing down on me, without lighting adequate to catch my attention. My radar was on, so I would have spotted him when he got within the range it was set on. Before that could happen, Victoria Traffic called us both (unidentified boats approaching Thrasher....) and alerted me, so I could watch out for the big FB. He never altered course, but I did, so no problem.
That got me looking into AIS. Then I discovered that the commercial boats that are required to have AIS are even bigger than the one that worried me. Chances are very good that the big guys with AIS will also be watching their radar, so will not be any threat to us little guys. Its the big guys that aren't watching anything, or don't have to carry the equipment, that you need to be concerned about, so having your own transponder would make no difference.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:53 PM   #5
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I spent MANY hours on watch on an aircraft carrier underway and can tell you we ALWAYS kept an eye on every AIS target. Once they are logged and plotted, we followed their every movement. SOLAS requires it, AND they are auto-plotted instead of some kid on watch noticing the target and getting a visual.

Here are the vessels required to have and monitor AIS:
  • Self-propelled vessels of 65 feet or more in length, other than passenger and fishing vessels, in commercial service and on an international voyage
  • Passenger vessels, of 150 gross tonnage or more
  • Tankers, regardless of tonnage
  • Vessels, other than passenger vessels or tankers, of 50,000 gross tonnage or more,
  • Vessels, other than passenger vessels or tankers, of 300 gross tonnage or more but less than 50,000 gross tonnage
  • Self-propelled vessels of 65 feet or more in length, other than fishing vessels and passenger vessels certificated to carry less than 151 passengers-for-hire, in commercial service;
  • Towing vessels of 26 feet or more in length and more than 600 horsepower, in commercial service
  • Passenger vessels certificated to carry more than 150 passengers-for-hire.
That pretty much covers everyone I'm worried about. Besides, having a transceiver tells the USCG, Traffic control and other boats where you are.

Not gonna start an argument bout it, but if you don't mind spending about $200 more, it's a VERY nice upgrade. Even if you don't believe it helps at all.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:45 PM   #6
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It's on my list of electronics to have, thanks. Not just for night, but for fog as well. I think I also need to upgrade my radar. Is there a radar unit that also displays AIS? I have a Standard Horizon CP500, I checked the manual and the unit can display AIS data.

Here is a company that makes what looks like a handy unit:
AIS Radar Receiver, AIS : NASA Marine Instruments

But I'm thinking of getting this to use with my CP500
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:53 PM   #7
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Greeting; Take alook at www.marinetraffic.com just to see whom we share our water with.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:16 PM   #8
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As cheap and simple to install as class B AIS is why not have one? They overlay on chart plotters and radars giving off annoying "flags" when a too close crossing is foreseen. Somesailor lists the size and type of vessels required to have them covering probably 90% and climbing of the vessels most of us are concerned with.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:29 PM   #9
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As comforting as it is that I know where they are, it's even more important that they know where I am.

My unit will calculate our closest point of intercept based on speed and bearing, but their systems are much more sophisticated and will generate alarms when a ship or boat enters a zone that they cannot easily maneuver out of. Large ships like aircraft carriers and cargo ships have systems aboard that can calculate in real time things like tactical turning radius, time to intercept, advance, transit times, drift , bearing velocities, etc. They alarm whenever a target gets into a zone where a collision is eminent and they start paying attention. Their goal is to keep those zones clear, but they have no choice but to pay attention if we wander in front of them.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:32 PM   #10
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For folks using a laptop for navigation this "box" looks interesting:
Ais Engine 3, AIS : NASA Marine Instruments
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeSailor View Post

Here are the vessels required to have and monitor AIS:
  • Self-propelled vessels of 65 feet or more in length, other than passenger and fishing vessels, in commercial service and on an international voyage
  • Passenger vessels, of 150 gross tonnage or more
  • Tankers, regardless of tonnage
  • Vessels, other than passenger vessels or tankers, of 50,000 gross tonnage or more,
  • Vessels, other than passenger vessels or tankers, of 300 gross tonnage or more but less than 50,000 gross tonnage
  • Self-propelled vessels of 65 feet or more in length, other than fishing vessels and passenger vessels certificated to carry less than 151 passengers-for-hire, in commercial service;
  • Towing vessels of 26 feet or more in length and more than 600 horsepower, in commercial service
  • Passenger vessels certificated to carry more than 150 passengers-for-hire.

Look at the boats that are missing from this list:
Fishboats of less than 300 gross tons - This is the vast majority of the fleet in BC waters.
Pleasure vessels of less than 300 tons - This is almost everybody else out there when I am.

I am not saying I am not in favor of having AIS, but for me, it would be a toy, not to be relied upon to find the boats I am most concerned about. Remember, the guys without AIS won't see you unless they keep an adequate visual or Radar watch, even if you have the transponder.

Personally, I won't rely on the watch-keeping of the fishing fleet, nor will I trust the adequacy of watch-keeping by pleasure boaters.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:02 PM   #12
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That's like saying Radar is a toy, because you stand watch. It's just another tool like any other. I can see, and be seen by targets you do not see and are not seen by.

No one's trying to convince you to step up to a Class B transceiver.

The previous post I made was actually incomplete. Here's a more thorough list:

164.46 Automatic Identification System (AIS)
(a) The following vessels must have a properly installed, operational, type approved AIS as of the date specified:

(1) Self-propelled vessels of 65 feet or more in
length, other than passenger and fishing vessels, in commercial service and on an international voyage, not later than December 31, 2004.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the following, self-propelled vessels, that are on an international voyage must also comply with SOLAS, as amended, Chapter V, regulation 19.2.1.6, 19.2.4, and 19.2.3.5 or 19.2.5.1 as appropriate (Incorporated
by reference, see 164.03):

(I) Passenger vessels, of 150 gross tonnage or
more, not later than July 1, 2003; (ii) Tankers, regardless of tonnage, not later than the first safety survey for safety equipment on or after
July 1, 2003; (iii) Vessels, other than passenger vessels or tankers,
of 50,000 gross tonnage or more, not later than July 1, 2004; and
(iv) Vessels, other than passenger vessels or tankers, of 300 gross tonnage or more but less than 50,000 gross tonnage, not later than the first safety survey for safety equipment on or after July 1, 2004,
but no later than December 31, 2004.
(3) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section, the following vessels, when navigating an area denoted in table 161.12(c) of 161.12 of this chapter, not later than December 31, 2004.
(i) Self-propelled vessels of 65 feet or more in length, other than fishing vessels and passenger vessels certificated to carry less than 151 passengersfor- hire, in commercial service;
(ii) Towing vessels of 26 feet or more in length and
more than 600 horsepower, in commercial service;
(iii) Passenger vessels certificated to carry more
than 150 passengers-for-hire. (d) The requirements for Vessel Bridge-to-Bridge radiotelephones in 26.04(a) and (c), 26.05, 26.06
and 26.07 this chapter, also apply to AIS. The term
"effective operating condition" used in 26.06 includes
accurate input and upkeep of AIS data fields.
(e) The use of a portable AIS is permissible, only to
the extent that electromagnetic interference does
not affect the proper function of existing navigation
and communication equipment on board, and such
that only one AIS unit may be in operation at any
one time.
(f) The AIS Pilot Plug, on each vessel over 1,600
gross tons, on international voyage, shall be available
for pilot use, easily accessible from the primary conning
position of the vessel, and near 120 volt, AC
power, 3-prong receptacle.
Note to 164.46(a): "Properly installed" refers to an installation
using the guidelines set forth in IMO SN/Circ.227 (Incorporated
by reference, see 164.03). Not all AIS units are able to
broadcast position, course, and speed without the input of an
external positioning device (e.g. DGPS); the use of other external
devices (e.g. transmitting heading device, gyro, rate of
turn indicator) is highly recommended, however, not required
except as stated in 164.46(a)(2). "Type approved" refers to an
approval by an IMO recognized Administration as to comply
with IMO Resolution MSC.74(69), ITU-R Recommendation
M.1371-1, and IEC 61993-2 (Incorporated by reference, see
164.03). "Length" refers to "registered length" as defined in 46
CFR, part 69. "Gross tonnage" refers to "tonnage" as defined
under the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement
of Ships, 1969.
* *
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:50 PM   #13
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Look at the boats that are missing from this list:
Fishboats of less than 300 gross tons - This is the vast majority of the fleet in BC waters.
Pleasure vessels of less than 300 tons - This is almost everybody else out there when I am.

I am not saying I am not in favor of having AIS, but for me, it would be a toy, not to be relied upon to find the boats I am most concerned about. Remember, the guys without AIS won't see you unless they keep an adequate visual or Radar watch, even if you have the transponder.

Personally, I won't rely on the watch-keeping of the fishing fleet, nor will I trust the adequacy of watch-keeping by pleasure boaters.
For quite a while I have been trying to talk myself into getting an AIS receiver to interface with my chart plotter so I can see what boats are around me.

Spending some time on marinetraffic.com, I have now decided that this would be pretty much a "toy" at this point. For the big ships required to have AIS, it's my responsibility to stay out of their way and I can do this by simply looking around.

The smaller sport fish boats and cruisers that often come around a bend and wake me or cause other problems aren't required to have AIS and from my obserbvation, most don't.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:02 PM   #14
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Presently there is an 8-meter-long pleasure craft (CF4261RL) "moored" in Danville, CA near Hwy 680, destination "home", miles from any navigable water. AIS useful for land use?
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:04 PM   #15
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More than half the traffic coming at me in the Chesapeake a month ago in dense fog did not have AIS or couldn't find me on their radar......this included several small tug and barges, fishing vessels, and private craft. While it is a useful tool...all the vessels that DID have AIS also had good enough radar and observers that they ID'ed me and called out traffic for me and a few of the other vessel around them.

So AIS is useful...but for me only about a tenth as useful as good RADAR on my boat. In high traffic areas....you often can get internet on a hotspot and can see the AIS traffic to help.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:47 PM   #16
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they ID'ed me and called out traffic for me and a few of the other vessel around them.
You could have seen your own traffic...


Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
Spending some time on marinetraffic.com, I have now decided that this would be pretty much a "toy" at this point.
And you're likely seeing about 1/3rd of the actual traffic. AIS works on the VHF spectrum so it's line of sight. I see every Class A and Class B, and they see me.

As far as staying out of their way, that's only part of the benefit. I see their course, bearing, speed, destination (as they see on mine).

It's just another tool. It's handy if you're cruising in a group too. Makes it easy for the faster boats to know when to expect us in.
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:41 PM   #17
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You could have seen your own traffic...




And you're likely seeing about 1/3rd of the actual traffic. AIS works on the VHF spectrum so it's line of sight. I see every Class A and Class B, and they see me.

As far as staying out of their way, that's only part of the benefit. I see their course, bearing, speed, destination (as they see on mine).

It's just another tool. It's handy if you're cruising in a group too. Makes it easy for the faster boats to know when to expect us in.
The first quote was actually mine......and no I couldn't see that traffic as they didn't have AIS which is what I pointed out...the big guys had them on Radar and were playing controller....

But if I had RADAR...I could have been watching them all and enjoying my beer and sandwich with my feet up....
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:57 PM   #18
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I see. I would agree that radar is more valuable than AIS, but when you have Radar and AIS on the right chartplotter it gives you MARPA capability far beyond what Radar alone does.

See a target out there... mark it... AIS info gets logged and your system predicts it's bearing and intercept. Click it and you can see his actual course and speed. It's pretty cool when you see it working. Especially when you're in fog and the slowest boat out there.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:10 PM   #19
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If I need MARPA on a 6 knot boat that's primarily run on nice days during the daytime...than I should turn in my captains license....

When I run commercial vessels...different story...

Actually I can eyeball most targets as accurately as many smaller radars MARPA...comes from using radar constantly for the last 32 years....
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:53 AM   #20
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I think AIS transponders are now so inexpensive that for those making night-time passages in waters ploughed by commercial traffic, the benefit of transmitting your own position as well as seeing others would make this a no-brainer. Defender Marine has a couple of quality 'black box' transponders, by Si-Tex & Digital Yahct, that are under $500 and interface with NMEA0183; NMEA 2000; and usb-to-laptop. One or more of those interfaces gives you AIS targets on your chartplotter. I think models giving you VHF auto-call-up are the nice-to-have but not essential category...but reading the OP situation, a send/receive transponder would make complete sense.
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