Our AIS is on all of the time, even at the dock
. I find it is both a security
device. The rules are obviously different if in another country or far offshore
, but cruising in the US, Canada
1. When you are a couple hundred miles from your boat, it is nice to go to any of the AIS internet
sites and see your boat, as well as a track. If you have to leave it and fly home, or from home. This is especially nice when anchored as it shows up on your smartphone when on shore. As more repeating stations are put in and technology catches up, you essentially have an anchor
watch away from the boat and LoJack built in.
2. It is on when out, even on a clear day. If something happens, there is a last known position when sailing in coastal waters. Family
at home can see where I am when single-handing. This would not be a good thing if your last name is Kennedy and the name of your boat is Monkey Business, but works for me.
3. I actually believe the CG leaves you alone more as they know exactly who you are and where you are going, and if you are willing to broadcast then you probably have less to hide. Jury is still out, but it may cut down on the number of boardings. So far, so good.
4. In congested waters, the alarm gets turned off, but it really does help with overall situational awareness even on clear days. I can easily time passing and crossing channels with the traffic, so less nail biting when coming up to a busy intersection. Less visual estimation of speeds or over compensating course corrections passing ships. Also, it has proven it's worth in timing tugs following or ahead. How much to speed up or slow down to make the most of your time and not get stuck behind for any longer than possible. Also to time to follow one through a lock, or bridge opening, etc. And most important to speed up or slow down long before meeting them at the narrows or turns or even getting stuck behind one for any longer than possible only to have him forcing you to push it harder a few miles down when he hits his speed again. Neither of us are surprised when meeting on a blind narrow, as he is anticipating me as much as I am anticipating him. If he needs more time and room, he is more likely to hail me long before we get to a point of being shoved up on the banks.
5. It makes GICW much less stressful for the obvious reasons, and I have actually found that the tugs will share more of the ICW
with you when you are both tracking on AIS. Also, it is easier to get a tug to answer you on the radio
when you call them by name. If they fail to answer a hail and run you aground and you have AIS, you have something to back up your claims as you call the CG who can review the radio
transmissions and AIS tracks.
6. At anchor
at night, it is on and calculated in my power requirements. Just a ton more reasons to have it on, then leave it off.
7. I am totally against over reaching, but I am fine if it were a requirement for all boats in navigable waters to be required to transmit. I have yet to see congestion in any port that would be worse than looking at a squawk overlay for ATC or in larger aircraft with the collision avoidance. At least we are all parallel to each other.
Bad guys will normally be the ones trying to fly under the radar
, so maybe the CG would spend less time on honest AIS targets and more time on unknown radar
It does put a bite in racing
confusion tactics, like the old toilet paper trick over the stern light, but most of the time, radar becomes a tactical tool anyway.