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Old 14-08-2015, 06:32   #61
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Seductive "toy"?

I beg to disagree. No more "seductive" and no more "toy" than nav lights or bilge pumps or GPS navigation. All of which, can be argued, make you "lax".

AIS is an extremely powerful tool for avoiding collisions -- really the killer app for collision avoidance which completely changes the game. If your system is properly installed, you can rely on it for detecting ships and calculating your crossing with it -- and that's what AIS is intended for. On a rare occasion a ship might have a malfunctioning AIS, but I can't recall seeing a single case of this in three years and thousands of ship encounters in that time.
.
The problem for sailboats is that they usually... often are not on these straight as an arrow courses IF they are sailing and can't fetch the mark or waypoint they are sailing to. I don't have my helm driven by a GPS and my track will wander a bit and the location of potential collision if there is one... is changing. And when it's THAT close I can use my eyeball navigation skills to determine if I will pass be front of, behind or collide. That is to say when I am in close enough proximity to other vessels.. I am watching with my eyes, using my nav skills, steering the boat, and trimming the sails...

AIS might be handy to call a vessel and confirm their (and your) intentions. That is a handy feature for sure. Collision avoidance is much heralded but for a hands on captain not as useful as the advocates claim. In fog.. electronic eyes are super.
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Old 14-08-2015, 06:47   #62
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg View Post
Hmmm, careful what you wish for, when every boat on the water is transmitting AIS, that may not necessarily be a good thing... I can easily foresee that ultimately having the effect of the Big Boys filtering you out in certain situations...

;-)

Attachment 63361

I'm mainly concerned about one of these vessels showing up on my AIS... The other one, not quite so
Best response yet! The last boat we bought came with AIS, we ended up disabling it. I couldn't imagine what it would be like if all boats had AIS, especially in high traffic areas where commercial traffic needed it the most. It was originally meant as a safety feature for commercial traffic if I'm not wrong. And to those that do find it necessary to have an AIS, please be considerate to others and turn the damn thing of while you are at the dock or on a mooring ball!
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Old 14-08-2015, 07:38   #63
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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That's great for you, have a cookie.

Guess you completely ignored where I said that people don't need AIS and that I don't have it, and where I said I have radar and that I've worked my way though narrow channels where I couldn't see the bow on my boat. But I guess I have no radar skill

So back to the question: in my opinion you don't need AIS. But if you boat in an area with a lot of shipping lanes I bet you sure will like having it.
YaSure Youbetcha! In the area I sail, when under sail I need to use/encroach on the traffic lanes. AIS allows me to make progress toward my destination without "impeding" commercial traffic in their designated lanes. I.E. I am not there when they arrive near my location. Sometimes however, there are so many big fast movers its time to nevermind and just stay outta there. Bottom line? It's useful.
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Old 14-08-2015, 07:58   #64
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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No problem with your sentiment. 100% agree. For myself and my wife we've just gone low tech for now. If only one is on watch, they wear their harness and stay clipped in within the cockpit at night or in bad weather. Under those same conditions, one does not leave the cockpit unless both of us are on deck.

Having said that, I think I will have to expand the possible areas where things go south. Definitely food for thought.

Thanks for post
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We are waiting for a personal AIS/EPRIB/SART combo unit. Maybe a ways off but we can wait!
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Old 14-08-2015, 08:00   #65
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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We are waiting for a personal AIS/EPRIB/SART combo unit. Maybe a ways off but we can wait!
Earlier in the thread, A64 posted a product that appeared to be exactly this. That really increases the usefulness of AIS in my eyes.

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Old 14-08-2015, 08:17   #66
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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Best response yet! The last boat we bought came with AIS, we ended up disabling it. I couldn't imagine what it would be like if all boats had AIS, especially in high traffic areas where commercial traffic needed it the most. It was originally meant as a safety feature for commercial traffic if I'm not wrong. And to those that do find it necessary to have an AIS, please be considerate to others and turn the damn thing of while you are at the dock or on a mooring ball!
Its easy to filter out targets that are NOT on collision courses. Of course, that would be your option but I have never seen a situation where less information lead to better decisions, unless there was something defective in the decision-making process and then you just call it "luck" if you make it through OK.

In areas like heavy shipping inlets, say Miami where a lot of folks leave their AIS on even when docked, we may see dozens and dozens of targets but even if there were a hundred, its very easy to pick out boats that may be an issue.

I think that AIS should be more tightly coupled with VHF. For example, when we are transmitting on the VHF our AIS signal would send an additional message and should be highlighted on other ships AIS that show what channel we are transmitting on. Or maybe the last channel they transmitted on. Whatever, you could set a bunch of different options.

I like that I can tap an AIS signal on my chart plotter and DSC to that boat. Only once have I not had co-operation from a big boy - A Disney Cruise liner that was overtaking me. In fact, out in the Gulf Stream when we have right of way, we never had a big boy NOT change course for us except for this incident. I'm sure thats different in the "high seas" but our experience with colregs and AIS has been very positive.
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Old 14-08-2015, 08:19   #67
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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Earlier in the thread, A64 posted a product that appeared to be exactly this. That really increases the usefulness of AIS in my eyes.

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It's not an EPIRB, actually without trying to be argumentative, I think he meant PLB, not EPIRB.

Either way I don't want to have to alert the SAR/SAT, CG etc. unless absolutely necessary, if I'm given a GPS steer to the MOB, I don't think I'd need to activate the EPIRB.
But if you feel the need, a PLB isn't hard to put on a vest too, maybe with instructions like, if I don't come get you in an hour, set this thing off?
I have a hand held VHF on whoever is on watch's vest. I figure being able to talk to the MOB is of value, if nothing else to ensure them, hang on, I'm coming
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Old 14-08-2015, 08:20   #68
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
I find AIS an invaluable tool. It works alongside our radar in the heavy traffic zones frequented by very large vessels in the area we sail in... the coast of florida, the gulf stream, and the Bahamas.

Having a transceiver is not only nice for you but for the larger boats. They can see you, easily communicate with you, and are grateful for it. If you see a radar blip and it does not match up with an AIS target you have an anomaly you need to watch carefully.

I believe that an AIS transceiver should be mandatory on all new boats going into production.

Do you need it? No but at less than $800 for a garmin transceiver its well worth the money.
That is really scary. They would then probably make it impossible or illegal disable it, making you vulnerable to both big brother and pirates all of the time. Not really very wise IMHO.
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Old 14-08-2015, 08:41   #69
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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It's not an EPIRB, actually without trying to be argumentative, I think he meant PLB, not EPIRB.

Either way I don't want to have to alert the SAR/SAT, CG etc. unless absolutely necessary, if I'm given a GPS steer to the MOB, I don't think I'd need to activate the EPIRB.
But if you feel the need, a PLB isn't hard to put on a vest too, maybe with instructions like, if I don't come get you in an hour, set this thing off?
I have a hand held VHF on whoever is on watch's vest. I figure being able to talk to the MOB is of value, if nothing else to ensure them, hang on, I'm coming
Right, more like a SART or PLB than an EPIRB. I agree, no need to tell the whole world.

I also have people wear submersible VHFs on their pfds in dirty weather and after dark. Not only does it enable them to direct mother ship to them (easier to see than a PIW), but if it turns into a prolonged search, they have a chance of getting in touch with rescuers.

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Old 14-08-2015, 08:48   #70
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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DH, I think your point brings us back to a point made by The Penguin early on in this thread. Where (and how) do you sail?

If I have had any success at deciphering CF posts, my understanding is you sail in the English Channel, North Sea and the Baltic including a recent long distance run to Sweden. I would definitely want an AIS and RADAR for that trip.

I currently Bob around in the Thousand Islands, but avoid the main shipping channel, in these islands, none of the small vessels you encounter have AIS . I do have a receiver, which I purchased when I was in busier waters and I like to sail in cruddy conditions, but for the thousand islands I rarely bother going down stairs and turning it on.

Ann stated she recently did a trip from Queensland to New Caledonia, which I had to Google, but I can't imagine that area has the same kind of traffic density or reduced visibility as the North Sea. Now this looks like some serious offshore cruising, so I would definitely be inclined to want an AIS for that trip, because you're going to be beyond short term weather forecasting.

As for the OP, I don't think I know where he sails, or even what kind of boat he's on.

I agree that for some cruisers (like yourself) an AIS could be considered critical, others (like me) occasionally quite useful and still others, not much use at all.

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Yes, I can't disagree with this. BUT -- are you sure you will never end up in open water on a collision course with a fast moving ship? Never, ever? That's why I think everyone should have AIS. You won't really use it if you never get out of the bay (where you do collision avoidance simply by staying out of the shipping channel unless the coast is clear), but one day you might need it, and then it's worth its weight in gold.
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Old 14-08-2015, 09:01   #71
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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The problem for sailboats is that they usually... often are not on these straight as an arrow courses IF they are sailing and can't fetch the mark or waypoint they are sailing to. I don't have my helm driven by a GPS and my track will wander a bit and the location of potential collision if there is one... is changing. And when it's THAT close I can use my eyeball navigation skills to determine if I will pass be front of, behind or collide. That is to say when I am in close enough proximity to other vessels.. I am watching with my eyes, using my nav skills, steering the boat, and trimming the sails...

AIS might be handy to call a vessel and confirm their (and your) intentions. That is a handy feature for sure. Collision avoidance is much heralded but for a hands on captain not as useful as the advocates claim. In fog.. electronic eyes are super.
"Collision avoidance is much heralded but for a hands on captain not as useful as the advocates claim."

You mean that if you're a "hands on captain", you don't need to do collision avoidance at all??

When you are in close enough proximity to see with your bare eyes whether a fast ship is passing ahead or behind, then the time for doing what you are required to do has long, long, since passed. It means you are merely flotsam, depending on the ship's bridge to prevent a likely fatal crash. If you are comfortable with that, then I guess that's your business, but in my book that's pretty irresponsible. You don't have to have AIS, but you are required to use seamanlike measures to determine the existence of a risk of collision early enough to do something about it. You cannot do that with your bare eyes, in open water with ships about travelling at 15 - 20 knots. And what if they don't see you?

The fact that your course and speed are changing while under sail will not prevent your getting run down and killed. It makes it harder to calculate the crossing, but that does not relieve you of your obligation to do it, on the contrary it increases the burden on you because it increases the risk that the ship's bridge doesn't get it right. Varying course and speed means this -- you have to calculate the crossing even earlier, and cross with a CPA which is large enough to cover all the possible jinks in your track due to these changes.

The fact that you will usually be the stand-on vessel when you're under sail also doesn't relieve you of the obligation to detect potential collisions early enough to do something about them. You have to be able to detect whether or not the ship has maneuvered, and if it has not taken adequate action by a certain time, then you are obligated to deal with it yourself. You cannot do this with your bare eyeballs and a "hands-on" attitude.
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Old 14-08-2015, 09:27   #72
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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Yes, I can't disagree with this. BUT -- are you sure you will never end up in open water on a collision course with a fast moving ship? Never, ever? That's why I think everyone should have AIS. You won't really use it if you never get out of the bay (where you do collision avoidance simply by staying out of the shipping channel unless the coast is clear), but one day you might need it, and then it's worth its weight in gold.
Well, I do have an AIS receiver, because my last base of operations was only 3' from the entrance to the Welland Canal and prior to that the Port of Toronto, so interacting with ship traffic was the norm not the exception. It took me 40 minutes to install my GX2200, so if one were anticipating a voyage into heavy traffic or off shore they could purchase the unit the day before they left.

I believe a good majority of sailors operate within 50 miles of their base of operations most of the time (that's opinion, not fact), somebody could buy a unit for that one day when scenario and the unit could be obsolete before they ever use it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating against AIS, I'm just saying they are more useful under certain circumstances than others.

One could very easily spend a couple of years exploring a place like Lake Winnipeg, justifiably call themselves a cruiser and never encounter a single AIS equipped vessel, of course Lake Winnipeg is an extreme example but their are remote places all over the planet that just don't have much shipping traffic.

Then there's my current project of building a beach/camp cruiser from scratch. The boat will have no electronics or engine and won't need them as I will likely never be more than a couple miles off shore, but I do intend to cruise the boat quite extensively. So again, an extreme example, but an illustration of a boat where it may not be necessary to carry an AIS.

I did a quick profile check on the OP and it appears he has about a 30' catamaran on a fairly quiet looking coast, so I would say whether he buys an AIS or not, might depend largely on his intended usage.

Although the boat looks like a fairly serious cruising design, so I think in his case it might be a good idea.

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Old 14-08-2015, 09:43   #73
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

My thoughts on a AIS transmitter, is never unless they make me. My home base is about 2 miles from an international boarder and the idea of getting harassed by USCBP, USCG and CBSA every time I tack is highly unappealing. I'm not out there doing anything wrong or illegal, but I do not like getting boarded by men with guns when I'm taking my family out for a Sunday sail.

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Old 14-08-2015, 09:49   #74
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

I would have thought having AIS would help prevent being hassled by authorities as of course they can easily track you many miles away, but I went through all kinds of being photographed and questioned by CBP when I pulled into Clearwater at about 10:30 at night, turns out that they have over 1,000 HP, but no AIS on their boat
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Old 14-08-2015, 10:08   #75
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Re: AIS DO I NEED IT.?

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I would have thought having AIS would help prevent being hassled by authorities as of course they can easily track you many miles away, but I went through all kinds of being photographed and questioned by CBP when I pulled into Clearwater at about 10:30 at night, turns out that they have over 1,000 HP, but no AIS on their boat
Good, God. That is almost comic.

I also assume that broadcasting AIS so that you can be tracked should lead to LESS attention from the authorities, since they don't need to board you and question you to determine whether or not you've just come from Cuba, for example. Or in my case, whether you've come from a non-EU country and need a customs inspection.

I am not advocating in favor of the surveillance society -- that's a different conversation. But since we have it, surely it's better to be surveilled rather than not, when you're on perfectly legal passages, so that they don't need to come and check you, which is a hassle and often unpleasant, even when you have nothing at all to hide.
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