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Old 13-09-2013, 07:37   #46
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Re: Why AIS?

I started out the great loop on this boat with neither radar or AIS. I replaced on the of VHF radios with a HorizonGX2150/AIS receiver early in the trip, interfaced to OpenCPN on my netbook. Halfway through, I still haven't been in a situation where I wished I had radar, as I have not been running at night or in the fog. The AIS was seldom of value in the ICW, as there was very little commercial traffic and it's obvious where they are going. However, it has been invaluable in the larger spaces like the Chesapeake New Jersey coast, and the Great Lakes, as well as the busy harbors.

Yesterday I came across Lake Michigan to Chicago on a humid, hazy day. The AIS picked up a freighter about 15 miles out, and I could tell at a glance that he was going to pass 3 miles behind me if we held course and speed. I never saw him, even when I looked in the direction indicated by the electronics. If I had radar, I could have picked him up at about 12-15 miles, but would have had to spend 10 minutes trying to figure out whether the 'blob' was a problem for me. Not too stressful, but when I got over to the Chicago side, I was dealing with 5 big targets within 5 miles, which was easy on the AIS, but would have been stressing me out if I only had radar.

Now I head down into towboat country, where big tows can block the entire river in the bends. If you read the blogs of the great loopers, most of them mention the stress of encountering these tows around the corners. I think the AIS will really pay for itself on this leg, and I'll give you some more feedback in a week or so.

I'm only using the boat for the loop, so I'm less likely to put in upgrades than if it was my own boat. However, based on my RTW sailing experience,there was never any question in my mind that the AIS was worthwhile, as was replacing the 45 lb CQR with a Manson Supreme 60.
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Old 13-09-2013, 07:41   #47
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Re: Why AIS?

Well I'd rather go to sea with Boatman than almost anybody else I know...Hell he would even pass muster with my wife! (licensed capt with 25,000 blue water miles).

Probably worth having in a bar fight too! But then so is my wife!
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Old 13-09-2013, 07:52   #48
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pirate Re: Why AIS?

Cheers mate... but don't forget... this is the internet and I'm really a fat slob sitting at a desk in the City trading....
Google is an indispensable tool...
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Old 13-09-2013, 08:15   #49
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Re: Why AIS?

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Originally Posted by BobnCamie View Post
Howdy all, been looking and have not found answer. Hope someone can help. Is AIS really needed? What percentage of boats out there actually have it? Use it? From what I get out of it, is somewhat like IFF on military vehicles. Wouldn't radar and radar reflector work just as well? We are just getting started outfitting our new (to us) boat for trip south next spring, and believe radar/reflector will be with us, so wouldn't the AIS system be somewhat redundant? Just a question that keeps coming up in my mind. Anyones thoughts? Thank, Bob
Hi, Bob and Camie,

I think you dont need it. However, you might want AIS. Nobody else here has mentioned that it is fun to know the names of the ships in your area, in the same way some of us find fast is fun in a dinghy.

You learn from the display the vessels who are transmitting, ones you don't have to worry about at the moment, and as mentioned above, about the ones around the corner. To me, especially where there are tugs with long tows that you need to avoid, being able to find out from them [the vessel name is part of the transmission] where they're going is useful, 'cause we are burdened if they are in a limited ability to maneuver situation. If there's no fun factor for you, you think your watch keeping is adequate, and your radar and radar reflector seem adequate to you, then of course, you don't need it.

As a person with a long cruising history, you may be a lot less susceptible to "screen paralysis" than newbies who have a lifelong trust in electronic devices. After all, you do not HAVE to look at it at an inconvenient moment. Your Mark 1 eyeballs are still there and useful.

As to the transponders vs. only the receivers, one possible downside has been mentioned: that your signal may lead robbers to you.

To those of you who do not think radar is useful...one thing it does show is the return from waves breaking; therefore it can show you further away from a reef than you can see in the dark exactly where your boat is in relation to the reef. This has been useful on my night watch when approaching "hard bits" to position the boat correctly for a mid-ocean landfall. Another use is allowing you to go closer inshore to get out of contrary currents. Ours has shown atoll entrances before we had enough light to enter safely.

Radar isn't "perfect", either, because the return from timber vessels (like fishing boats, more than yachts) won't show up in the fog. You just have to be aware.

I suggest that without all the "tools" to distract him, Boatie uses the computer between his ears! Those who over-rely on electronics usually don't listen for subtle changes in sounds that will alert the watchkeeper in fog at night, for instance, or notice the wind shift on their face.

Ann
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Old 13-09-2013, 08:21   #50
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Re: Why AIS?

Boatman is obviously and experienced sailor and has his opinions... I would guess he would be very comfortable sailing with the Pardee's and their plastic bucket (Head).

I too am familiar with and have navigated with paper charts and even a sextant, but have found I like the modern conveniences of electronics (and a working head).

Everyone has their own comfort and convenience levels...
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Old 13-09-2013, 08:32   #51
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Re: Why AIS?

boatman -

I still do paper navigation with hand tools and my depth sounder reads out numbers; no fancy displays of anything. The only AIS info I get is on my GX2150 vhf radio which displays a maximum of the ten closest contacts.

I can't really understand why anyone would purposefully choose to not know the details about the ten closest AIS transmitting vessels. As the VHF/AIS-receiver models come down in price it's going to be a few Luddites hanging about avoiding AIS reception.

Transmitting, and mine is a black box with zero visual display (except a light saying it's on), offers zilch "information overload" to me.
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Old 13-09-2013, 08:33   #52
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pirate Re: Why AIS?

[QUOTE=jeremiason;1338718]Boatman is obviously and experienced sailor and has his opinions... I would guess he would be very comfortable sailing with the Pardee's and their plastic bucket (Head). QUOTE]

No way mate... tried that coming across the Bay in my H22... kept falling of... yukky...
Got modern with a Jabsco and grab bars...
And.... AIS is good... just don't believe it give you the full picture... even ships have been known to travel with it off... personal experiences...
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Old 13-09-2013, 10:04   #53
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Re: Why AIS?

[QUOTE=boatman61;1338728]
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
Boatman is obviously and experienced sailor and has his opinions... I would guess he would be very comfortable sailing with the Pardee's and their plastic bucket (Head). QUOTE]

No way mate... tried that coming across the Bay in my H22... kept falling of... yukky...
Got modern with a Jabsco and grab bars...
And.... AIS is good... just don't believe it give you the full picture... even ships have been known to travel with it off... personal experiences...
OUR JABSCO IS LEAKING and is awaiting the repairman with a new (electric FFS) pump the bucket has no holes and with a little plastic film wrap can even be a holding tank in ectremis.
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Old 13-09-2013, 10:23   #54
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Re: Why AIS?

Just a thought:

Private aircraft are not required to have a transponder (similar to AIS) unless entering controlled air space (around all large airports) in which case they must have transponder to allow air traffic control to monitor them.

I could see the same approach be taken in future with AIS on boats: Would be required if transiting across any traffic control schemes or entering commercial harbors.

Time will tell.
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Old 13-09-2013, 10:46   #55
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Re: Why AIS?

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Originally Posted by Dennis.G View Post
Just a thought:

Private aircraft are not required to have a transponder (similar to AIS) unless entering controlled air space (around all large airports) in which case they must have transponder to allow air traffic control to monitor them.

I could see the same approach be taken in future with AIS on boats: Would be required if transiting across any traffic control schemes or entering commercial harbors.

Time will tell.
I think I remember some discussion about a year ago that the department of Homeland (in)Security would require every vessel to have a transponder, a recipe for total confusion if ever there was!
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Old 13-09-2013, 11:33   #56
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Re: Why AIS?

I have seen several comments about radar not being able to see wooden objects such as wooden boats in the water. The radar technology has changed a great deal since I owned my first daylight type monitor with domed radar antenna. I have stayed away from color radars and have gone to a High quality Dome anntenna from ICOM with a plain black and white LCD display. I see floating logs with Seagulls riding them on the screen. Any boat without a reflector which has an aluminum masts shows up as a very bright target. If you have trouble seeing objects that don't have reflectors maybe it's time for a radar upgrade. The newer radars are quite sensitive. A lot of sailors I have spoken to about this topic have not put in the time to really know how to adjust their Radars. Most don't use them on a regular basis. Fortunately AIS does not require the same amount of hands on time. It maybe the answer for those that don't like using radar to a point. I agree that once we all have them the waters should become safer, however the screens will also become more cluttered.
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Old 13-09-2013, 12:14   #57
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Re: Why AIS?

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Originally Posted by Lancerbye View Post
I have seen several comments about radar not being able to see wooden objects such as wooden boats in the water. The radar technology has changed a great deal since I owned my first daylight type monitor with domed radar antenna. I have stayed away from color radars and have gone to a High quality Dome anntenna from ICOM with a plain black and white LCD display. I see floating logs with Seagulls riding them on the screen. Any boat without a reflector which has an aluminum masts shows up as a very bright target. If you have trouble seeing objects that don't have reflectors maybe it's time for a radar upgrade. The newer radars are quite sensitive. A lot of sailors I have spoken to about this topic have not put in the time to really know how to adjust their Radars. Most don't use them on a regular basis. Fortunately AIS does not require the same amount of hands on time. It maybe the answer for those that don't like using radar to a point. I agree that once we all have them the waters should become safer, however the screens will also become more cluttered.
Practice makes perfect. a properly tuned in and adjusted radar ( especially gain and sea clutter) will detect wooden vessels, even if what it 'sees' is in fact the hole in the water the boat creates. We have had radars for over 20 years, different makes on different boats and been able to pick up even plastic inflatable dinghies, lobster pot markers and as stated seagulls (fast flying ones can get the mind racing) helicopters can also have you hitting the 'sh!t what is that' button. Rain storms show up very well but can hide other targets unless the 'rain' filter is turned on and the gain is properly adjusted. AS said, many do not practice with their sets until circumstances cause them to and then do not truly understand what is happening and how to interpret it. A bit of AIS on screen video gamery then seems much easier I guess.
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Old 13-09-2013, 12:38   #58
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Re: Why AIS?

AIS filtering is an interesting subject in itself.

E.g. I would like to see:

- 'shortest TCPA only',
- 'closest CPA only',
- 'incoming only', etc.

filters.

Any software / unit with such a functionality?

I am asking as I have seen 'class B off' filter and 'closest X mobiles' filter but that's like very limited and very simplistic solutions. Potentially dangerous too.

b.
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Old 14-09-2013, 07:38   #59
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Re: Why AIS?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
AIS filtering is an interesting subject in itself.

E.g. I would like to see:

- 'shortest TCPA only',
- 'closest CPA only',
- 'incoming only', etc.

filters.

Any software / unit with such a functionality?

I am asking as I have seen 'class B off' filter and 'closest X mobiles' filter but that's like very limited and very simplistic solutions. Potentially dangerous too.

b.
If I recall correctly Fugawi does a pretty good job of rank ordering the list by clicking on the headings of the desired parameter.
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Old 14-09-2013, 07:55   #60
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Re: Why AIS?

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If I recall correctly Fugawi does a pretty good job of rank ordering the list by clicking on the headings of the desired parameter.
!

Must have a look. Stopped using Fugavi some time ago but still have the software on a CD.

Does it filter the screen content (the displayed mobiles) at the same time?

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