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Old 13-08-2015, 11:51   #31
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

Having an AIS transponder makes you seen by the big ships too, and not having to depend on something on your boat reflecting their radar, someone on the bridge looking at radar, etc. Too many stories of yachts being run down by ships. I want to stack the deck in my favor as much as possible. Plus my experience is being called several times by ships or tows asking intent, or inviting to pass, etc. THAT is way cool. They never did that before transponder.
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Old 13-08-2015, 12:40   #32
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

Just to focus a bit, the OP asked if he needed AIS. I interpret that to mean is it necessary, essential, a don't leave home without it piece of equipment.

No one is questioning the usefulness of AIS. No argument from anyone that it works, that it contributes to safety.

The question is, is it needed, is it necessary? Is it foolish, highly risky or even dangerous to sail without AIS?
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Old 13-08-2015, 13:00   #33
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

You can sail with or without AIS and/or radar--but they both give you additional situational awareness data which reduce your stress and enhance your safety.

If you are budget minded, the AIS gives you more bang for the buck on collision avoidance than radar. When I outfitted the Grand Banks for the Great Loop, I did not replace the dead radar but I upgraded one old VHF to give the AIS receive and DSC. The AIS expense (less than $400 ) was well worth it. Replacing the radar (more than $2000) would have helped me on a couple of foggy mornings, but most of the other traffic was AIS equipped. The electronic charts are good enough in the US to avoid the rocks without radar.

OTOH, if I was going to cruise in Maine, I would have replaced the radar too.
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Old 13-08-2015, 13:11   #34
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
AIS is nice to have, but it doesn't give us the same information as radar.... It doesn't even come close to replacing radar.
.
Which isn't surprising, it's a different system altogether which was never designed as anything like a replacement for radar.
AT the low end, for less than the cost of a waterproof coat you can get a receiver drawing next to no power and dishing out very useful accurate information , no brainer if you sail anywhere where there is some traffic.
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Old 13-08-2015, 13:43   #35
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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Do cruiser need AIS and if so what should I get?
Of course cruisers don't NEED AIS. But that's not the same as whether they should get it.

BTW - I don't have it. But do have radar because the boat had it when I got it, and for which I don't find as useful really as it is made out to be.
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Old 13-08-2015, 13:58   #36
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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Do cruiser need AIS and if so what should I get?
AIS does three things for you:
1) Shows you other vessels transmitting AIS, even without a line of sight (particularly useful in places like the Pacific Northwest, with all the islands and narrow passages, where radar couldn't otherwise reveal the presence of large, potentially fast commercial vessels);
2) Provides valuable collision avoidance and contact info;
3) Allows other AIS-equipped vessels to see you.

But since not all vessels are equipped, it is no substitute for radar, etc. In fact, a good ARPA/MARPA radar will give you equally good CPA and TCPA info for any vessels within line of sight. So, unless you are regulatorily required to have AIS, I think it is a stretch to call it a "need", but definitely nice to have.

As far as what unit, I am very happy with my Furuno FA-150, but it is pricey.
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Old 13-08-2015, 14:03   #37
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
Of course cruisers don't NEED AIS. But that's not the same as whether they should get it.

BTW - I don't have it. But do have radar because the boat had it when I got it, and for which I don't find as useful really as it is made out to be.
Practice and learn to use your radar. You'll love it, especially when when you find yourself 1/4 off the coast someday and that unexpected fog bank rolls in, and you will be able to safely anchor in just the right spot or steer clear of other vessels..... Some who don't have AIS.
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Old 13-08-2015, 14:12   #38
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Practice and learn to use your radar. You'll love it, especially when when you find yourself 1/4 off the coast someday and that unexpected fog bank rolls in, and you will be able to safely anchor in just the right spot or steer clear of other vessels..... Some who don't have AIS.
I know how to use my radar. I've been in the Maine fog lots of times when I could barely see the bow while working my way though all the small islands and channels. Radar wasn't all that useful then as it can't tell me if that's a lobster boat, kayak, buoy, or lobster pot reflector in front of me in the channel

That of course is just my opinion!
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Old 13-08-2015, 14:15   #39
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
If you are budget minded, the AIS gives you more bang for the buck on collision avoidance than radar. When I outfitted the Grand Banks for the Great Loop, I did not replace the dead radar but I upgraded one old VHF to give the AIS receive and DSC. The AIS expense (less than $400 ) was well worth it. Replacing the radar (more than $2000) would have helped me on a couple of foggy mornings, but most of the other traffic was AIS equipped. The electronic charts are good enough in the US to avoid the rocks without radar.

OTOH, if I was going to cruise in Maine, I would have replaced the radar too.


Mmmmm.... around here, we can usually see 15-50 boats from up close out to the near horizon (maybe 150 in the early trolling season) which do NOT have AIS. Most of those would appear on the radar screen...

-Chris
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Old 13-08-2015, 14:27   #40
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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Which isn't surprising, it's a different system altogether which was never designed as anything like a replacement for radar.
AT the low end, for less than the cost of a waterproof coat you can get a receiver drawing next to no power and dishing out very useful accurate information , no brainer if you sail anywhere where there is some traffic.
Many people we know become dependent on their AIS. They come to believe it replaces radar and shows all the other ships.... Basically, they let down their guard. Which can't be done with radar since it needs to be monitored by someone who knows how to read the screen, like my wife.

I even know one fellow here on CF who skillfully thwarted an almost certain pirate attack off Shrilanka using only his grey mater and trusty radar. Try that with AIS.
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Old 13-08-2015, 14:35   #41
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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I know how to use my radar. I've been in the Maine fog lots of times when I could barely see the bow while working my way though all the small islands and channels. Radar wasn't all that useful then as it can't tell me if that's a lobster boat, kayak, buoy, or lobster pot reflector in front of me in the channel

That of course is just my opinion!
An experienced RADAR operator should be able to tell a buoy from a kayak. The buoy is the one in the position where a buoy is supposed to be. You can't tell with 100% certainty, but with practice you can have a very good idea. AIS will only tell you where there's a ship equipped with AIS, you'll be completely oblivious to the kayak, lobster pot and buoy plus the boats without AIS, the beach break, the breaking waves on the shoals, the rocky shore line and the incoming thunderstorm.

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Old 13-08-2015, 14:43   #42
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Many people we know become dependent on their AIS. They come to believe it replaces radar and shows all the other ships.... Basically, they let down their guard. Which can't be done with radar since it needs to be monitored by someone who knows how to read the screen, like my wife.

I even know one fellow here on CF who skillfully thwarted an almost certain pirate attack off Shrilanka using only his grey mater and trusty radar. Try that with AIS.
I like having both
And knowing the limitations of both different systems.
The weakness you mention are human, not in the technology, but also very real. Trust nothing completely
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Old 13-08-2015, 14:44   #43
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

I think I sort of hoped to get a response from the OP at #2...where does he sail?
If just the Brisbane to Bundy range he could sail in perfect safeness and contentment for a very long time with neither AIS nor radar.

Re radar... mine very rarely goes on... poor vis... entering unlit caletas in the dark and them only if I've entered them before and have a well tested and trusted GPS track to follow.. thats about it
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Old 13-08-2015, 14:49   #44
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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An experienced RADAR operator should be able to tell a buoy from a kayak. The buoy is the one in the position where a buoy is supposed to be. You can't tell with 100% certainty, but with practice you can have a very good idea.
That's pretty much bull except the highlighted part. In a 50 yard wide channel full of lobster pots, a buoy, a kayak, and a lobster boat not moving that you can hear but not see; all that radar might tell you is which one is a buoy based on where you chart says the buoy is SUPPOSED to be.

The most likely certain thing in this case that you can count on is that none of the objects are likely to response when you signal with your fog horn.
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Old 13-08-2015, 14:56   #45
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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That's pretty much bull except the highlighted part. In a 50 yard wide channel full of lobster pots, a buoy, a kayak, and a lobster boat not moving that you can hear but not see; all that radar might tell you is which one is a buoy based on where you chart says the buoy is SUPPOSED to be.

The most likely certain thing in this case that you can count on is that none of the objects are likely to response when you signal with your fog horn.
Hmm, I seem to have managed pretty well with RADAR in the past inspite of intense clutter. Ever tried navigating in a white out blizzard trying to find a track through heavily ridged and broken ice with an AIS? Doesn't work. Tried it with a RADAR? It works great, provided, you have a skilled operator. Buoyed channels are generally not that hard to pick out from the clutter, if you know what you're doing.

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